It's another delay tactic, the state says as it rejects Zuma's request for trial postponement
The state has hit back at former president Jacob Zuma, saying his request for a one-week postponement of his fraud and corruption trial should not be granted.
Zuma is scheduled to appear in the Pietermaritzburg high court on Monday, where he was set to present a “special plea” that he be acquitted without trial. Zuma's lawyers said the former president would present oral evidence as part of this plea.
But, citing recent civil unrest and dissatisfaction with the decision to hold the case virtually, Zuma had requested a one-week postponement. The application was made on Saturday, through his lawyer.
The state, however, said in responding papers the application shouldn't be granted. Prosecutor Billy Downer said not only was a virtual hearing “permissible”, it was also feasible and appropriate” for the matter at hand.
It said the special plea could be handled without oral evidence.
“Like the special plea, the application for a postponement is yet another delaying tactic by the first accused [Zuma]," Downer writes.
“The bringing of a special plea has already resulted in a significant delay in the commencement of the criminal trial. I submit the first accused should not be permitted to delay its determination, and hence the commencement of his trial yet further, through a spurious objection to the virtual hearing of the argument on his special plea,” he adds.