Legal big guns likely to be absent when Zuma appears on graft charges

07 June 2018 - 11:56
By Nivashni Nair
Former President Jacob Zuma. File photo.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER Jacob Zuma Former President Jacob Zuma. File photo.

Without clearance from the Presidency‚ Jacob Zuma's preferred legal team is likely to be absent when he appears in the Durban High Court on Friday.

A legal source told TimesLive on Thursday that advocates Kemp J Kemp and Hoosen Gani had not yet received clearance to act for the former president.

"Without clearance Zuma's attorney Michael Hulley or a junior counsel will have to represent Zuma in court. It will be just an adjournment anyway‚" he said.

The state is currently funding Zuma's legal battle pending a North Gauteng High Court application brought by the DA for the former president to pay his own way.

However‚ the legal source said on Thursday that it was unlikely that Zuma would go into a "full criminal trial" without his preferred legal team.

He said Friday's proceedings were "just an adjournment"‚ therefore Kemps and Gani's absence may not have real consequences.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said he could not predict what would happen in court on Friday. "It will just be an adjournment but I don't know what exactly will be discussed. I don't know their legal strategy so I can't say whether they will discuss their legal fees or the decision against the request to stay the prosecution‚" he said.

NPA head Shaun Abrahams has refused Zuma's request for a stay of prosecution pending the legal battle of who will fund it.

Zuma is charged with 16 counts that include fraud‚ corruption and racketeering.

These charges relate to 783 payments which he allegedly received as a bribe to protect French arms company Thales from an investigation into the controversial multi-billion rand arms deal. The alleged bribe was facilitated by Zuma’s former financial adviser Schabir Shaik.

During the brief proceedings in April‚ Zuma and co-accused Thales representative Christine Guerrier sat side by side in the dock.