The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said that former President Jacob Zuma’s application in which he wanted to interrogate NPA witnesses who testified in the so-called spy tapes case and for prosecutor Billy Downer to recuse himself, should not be entertained.
Zuma lost that case in the Supreme Court of Appeal. On Monday, he made an application in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for a postponement of his arms deal fraud and corruption trial.
In that application, he also claimed that his rights to a fair trial would be violated if proceedings were held virtually while he is in jail because he would not be able to consult privately with his lawyers.
In the spy tapes case, the Democratic Alliance (DA) challenged the NPA boss at the time, Mokotedi Mpshe’s decision to withdraw the charges against Zuma, claiming that there was political interference. Advocate Wim Trengove said that the Supreme Court of Appeal had already ruled on the matter.
“Accusation of political interference that was the core issue in the spy tapes case. That was the core reason why Mr Mpshe withdrew the charges. That was the withdrawal that Mr Zuma’s counsel conceded in the SCA was irrational. That was the same decision that the SCA in scathing tones held to have been irrational,” he said.
Trengove said that Zuma should not be allowed to abuse processes because he abandoned his application for leave to appeal that would have challenged the SCA’s decision in the Constitutional Court.
“These are the same complaints which the accused now wants us to revive. He doesn’t offer any fresh evidence, but he says while I have not been able to make a case, I want you to call up all the NPA’s witnesses so I can interrogate them,” Trengove argued.
Zuma will likely find out on Tuesday whether his application for a postponement succeeds, which will allow him to make his case for the charges to be withdrawn.
He’s also expected to get clarity on whether the trial will wait for him to serve his 15-month sentence or if he’ll be allowed to go to court in person for the duration of the proceedings.
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