Wed. Nov 20th, 2019

Jacob Zuma: Dramatic “new evidence” could change the course of the trial

Jacob Zuma new evidenceWouldn’t you just know it? When Jacob Zuma and his defence team looked to be on the backfoot, this happens. The court must now decide what happens next.

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It was a pretty unextraordinary day for Jacob Zuma and his legal team, as Thursday was largely a case of getting both barrels from the prosecution. However, the late submission of a letter from the defence, which supposedly supports their claims that Jacob Zuma is the victim of a political campaign, has thrown a spanner in the works.

Jacob Zuma court case: Judges to consider new evidence

We were edging towards the end of the third and penultimate day of the Jacob Zuma stay of prosecution hearing as deliberations drew to a close. However, this late evidence – a letter that allegedly shows former President Thabo Mbeki and Justice Minister Maduna conspiring to influence the NPA – has somewhat changed the landscape.

Court has adjourned until 9:00 on Friday, to consider whether this new piece of evidence can be considered.

How the prosecution plan to nail Jacob Zuma, defence team

After the defence opened proceedings with their arguments this week, the state came charging through with their reasons to prosecute Zuma. It made for blockbuster entertainment.

Wim Trengrove and Billy Downer dovetailed throughout Thursday, picking holes in the 300 pages of evidence Zuma and co had submitted to the judge’s bench. There was a victory early on for Downer, who successfully managed to get a large chunk of Msholozi’s affidavit wiped from the record.

The advocate detailed how Jacob Zuma had made him sound “nostalgic for apartheid”, strongly objecting to his claims. The panel sided with the prosecution and ordered the testimony to be stricken from the record.

Msholozi told to take responsibility for “trial delays”

As we headed towards the lunch interval, both lawyers weren’t too pleased with the way Zuma and Thales – the French arms company who allegedly paid the then-deputy president to fight their case in Parliament – had claimed that delays in the trial had severely hampered the defence.

Trengrove was eager to point out that most of these delays were caused by Zuma and his counsel, and that it was “wrong” to try and claim this was harmful to the ex-president when he’s been more than happy to employ the “Stalingrad” tactic for the best part of the 21st century. The prosecutor also flagged-up what this had cost the taxpayer.

“A full bench of the Pretoria High Court recently described the way in which Mr Zuma has deployed his Stalingrad Defence to avoid prosecution and it has cost the State between R16.7 million and R32 million.”

“Zuma’s legal team should shoulder the blame for the delays as they made presentations requesting that charges be dropped by the NPA which was done so in an unlawful manner.”

Wim Trengrove

“Conspiracy theories” blasted by Trengrove

It was also argued by both Downer and Trengrove that Jacob Zuma and his team are peddling “speculative conspiracy theories” about uBaba. They have spent most of the week trying to paint the NPA as an incompetent branch of government, claiming all the while that Zuma is targeted on the basis of a politically motivated campaign.

However, it now promises to be a sleepless night for all those involved with the case. Any new evidence about an NPA conspiracy would knock the prosecution for six. Yet if it isn’t submitted, one feels that Jacob Zuma will be perilously close to facing a criminal trial. Friday will be compulsive viewing in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

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