Court grants Zuma’s plea for postponement

Image of Zuma

Lungani Zungu

Former president Jacob Zuma has once again succeeded in convincing the Pietermaritzburg High Court to postpone his corruption case.

Judge Piet Koen has allowed the state and Zuma’s legal team to submit arguments to whether the case can be heard with Zuma appearing virtually because of Covid-19 regulations.

Zuma has applied for the matter to be postponed until he can appear physically, saying he was against appearing virtually. 

Justice Koen will make the ruling on the matter on 4 August after both parties have made their submissions. 

Zuma’s appearance has now been postponed for 10 to 13 August.

Zuma’s legal team, led by advocate Dali Mpofu were elated after the ruling on Tuesday. 

His foundation took to Twitter and said: “The Constitution has prevailed at last.” 

But many have called it a hollow victory, saying the excitement would be short-lived as the state had such a water-tight case against Zuma. 

Zuma faces 18 charges of corruption and fraud. 

Mpofu argued on Monday that his client would prefer to testify physically and also asked that state prosecutor advocate Billy Downer must recuse himself as lead prosecutor. 

The judge has yet to make a decision on this application. 

State advocate Wim Trengove said that Zuma’s attempt to remove Downer as lead prosecutor had no basis. 

“This is simply a rehash of old complaints dressed up as special defence. But it is merely a ruse. It is recycling of old complaints,” he said.

On Zuma’s postponement application, Trengove said: “He desperately seeks to avoid answering the charges of corruption, fraud and money-laundering.”

Zuma appeared in public, via Zoom, for the second time today since his arrest on 7 July for contempt of court.