Former president Jacob Zuma appeared in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday, facing fraud, corruption and money laundering charges.
But Zuma confessed that he has never stolen before in his entire life in High court in Pietermaritzburg
Zuma is accused of taking bribes from French arms maker Thales over a contract worth R30-billion during his time as a provincial economy minister and then deputy African National Congress (ANC) president. He faces one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud.
Zuma’s legal team have sought a permanent stay of execution due to the length of time since the event occurred.
Prosecutor Billy Downer indicated that the State was ready to proceed with the case. He requested that Zuma’s legal team be given one month to state their arguments as to why this should occur. He suggested that the State would then require one month to reply to the Zuma team’s request.
Downer indicated that he wished to ensure that the case proceeds, as presently planned, on 12 November.
Mike Hellens for Zuma requested until November to present their arguments.
Judge Mjabuliseni Madondo agreed to adjourn the case until 30 November, as requested by Hellens. Zuma was released on his own recognisance.
Zuma appeared in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court on 8 June, where his case was postponed to 27 July.
Zuma’s backers are expected to gather outside the courtroom and residents have been warned of heavy traffic in the central business district.
Zuma’s supporters are expected to start gathering at Dales Park in Mayors Walk on Friday morning and march to Freedom Square where they will wait for the duration of the case until they are addressed by Zuma.
KwaZulu-Natal police on Thursday said that strict measures were in place ahead of Zuma’s appearance.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said the security for the court appearance will be done in consultation with all role players and security agencies.
“We plan jointly taking into account all and every eventuality. It is not our policy to make public our security plans, deployment of manpower and resources,” said Naicker.
He said that strict measures will be in place to mitigate any threats.
Named as accused number one in the State’s indictment, the former president is facing one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud in a case that stretches back to the so-called arms-deal, finalised in 1999.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has alleged there was an illegal “common purpose” relationship between Zuma, his convicted financial advisor Schabir Shaik and Thales South Africa (Pty) Ltd to pay and accept bribes for “political protection”.