ANALYSIS | Why Zuma may just win a stay of prosecution

01 August 2018 - 07:00 By Karyn Maughan
Former president Jacob Zuma in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for his third appearance on charges of fraud and corruption on July 27, 2018.
Former president Jacob Zuma in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for his third appearance on charges of fraud and corruption on July 27, 2018.
Image: Jackie Clausen/ Pool

Former president Jacob Zuma’s lawyers are confident that an application for a permanent stay of prosecution in his corruption trial in the Pietermaritzburg High Court will succeed, saying he has “great prospects of success”.

And their confidence may not be entirely misplaced.

Zuma’s legal team have several pillars to their argument that the former president should never go on trial for corruption, including the delay in charging Zuma and in proceeding with the case against him, and alleged evidence that certain authorities illegally “spied on” Zuma. Key to these spying claims is the discredited “Browse Mole” report – but more on that later.

Linking all of these complaints is Zuma’s argument that there was “executive interference” in his prosecution – specifically by officials loyal to former president Thabo Mbeki.

In order to be given a permanent stay of prosecution, Zuma’s lawyers have to show that the former president had suffered irreparable trial prejudice, and therefore legal proceedings should be stopped. The Constitutional Court has made it clear that granting a permanent stay of prosecution is “radical, both philosophically and socio-politically”.

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