Former president Jacob Zuma is attending his application for a permanent stay of prosecution “by choice”. In a civil matter, such as this bid to avoid corruption charges, an accused person does not need to be in court with his or her legal team.
“He is here by choice. It was decided yesterday. We will see on Thursday if he is up to attending again,” advocate Muzi Sikhakhane told TimesLIVE on Tuesday shortly after the matter was stood down until Thursday.
Zuma did not plan to address the handful of supporters that gathered in Freedom Park, opposite the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday.
On Monday Zuma addressed hundreds of supporters, who waited for hours for the court proceedings to end to catch a glimpse of the former president.
He is likely to address his supporters again on Friday. However, Zuma will not be in a position to inform them on the outcome of his application as the court needs at least three months to finalise its judgment.
Before the matter was adjourned on Tuesday, Zuma’s co-accused – French arms company Thales – argued that its right to a fair trial would be violated as it had no witnesses to dispute the evidence against it.
Advocate Mushahida Adhikari, representing Thales, said some of the key witnesses were “unavailable” and could not even be located by Interpol.
One key witness had Alzheimer’s disease and therefore could not testify, she said.
Thales did not present a medical report to court to prove their argument.
If Thales is tried and found guilty, it will likely face a fine as it is a corporate entity, however Adhikari argued that it still had the same right to a fair trial.
Thales is accused of agreeing to pay Zuma a yearly R500,000 bribe for protection from an investigation into the controversial multibillion-rand arms deal. The alleged bribe was facilitated by Zuma’s former financial adviser‚ Schabir Shaik.
You might also like…Eskom admits it has no budgets or plans for its older coal powered stations
Eskom has no budgets or plans in place for the decommissioning of its older coal power plants, despite its own admission that these plants must eventually close, and international consensus over the potential effects of these closures.
This is according to a response to a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) request by the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER).
The CER asked Eskom for its decommissioning plans and budgets for its older coal powered fleet – Hendrina, Grootvlei, Camden, Arnot, Komati and Kriel. In response, Eskom’s delegated information officer Eddie Laubscher wrote in April:
Whilst Eskom has provided an indication of station shutdown and decommissioning dates in various forums, the final shut down and decommissioning dates of power stations and units within stations will be determined based on economic, technical and environmental criteria…Read more here