LISTEN | Court to decide on Jacob Zuma’s application on August 10 when trial resumes

20 July 2021 - 10:53 By ernest mabuza
Former president Jacob Zuma during a previous court appearance.
Former president Jacob Zuma during a previous court appearance.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU

The high court in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday adjourned former president Jacob Zuma’s fraud and corruption trial until Aug. 10, when the court will hear adjudication of the issues Zuma raised in his special plea that prosecutor Billy Downer has “no title” to prosecute.

Judge Piet Koen made this order on Tuesday after hearing arguments on Monday from Zuma’s lawyers, who were seeking a postponement for two to three weeks.

Listen to the judgment: 

In his order passed on Tuesday, Koen said the ruling in respect of the relief sought by Zuma in an application made before the court on July 17 is adjourned until Aug. 10.

“The trial is adjourned to Aug. 10 to 13, 2021 for the adjudication of the issues raised in the special plea,” Koen said.

Koen said the court directive of July 15, that the hearing of the special plea will proceed by way of virtual hearing, will continue to apply unless revoked or revised.

In an application made by his lawyers on Saturday, Zuma had asked for his fraud and corruption trial related to the 1999 arms procurement deal to be postponed for three weeks.

Zuma’s lawyers argued on Monday that it would be a breach of his fair trial rights to hear his special plea virtually.

Zuma would present oral evidence as part of this plea, his lawyers said.

With last week’s unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng after his recent arrest for contempt of court, the courts were closed and the judge wrote to the parties to explore the possibility of hearing argument on the special plea via a virtual platform.

However, counsel for the state, advocate Wim Trengove, on Monday called the postponement application “Stalingrad, Season 27”, and asked the court to dismiss the application for a postponement.

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