Former President Jacob Zuma has lost his bid for a permanent stay of prosecution in his corruption and arms deal matter.
The Pietermaritzburg High Court dismissed Zuma’s application with costs in a short order on Friday morning.
The order was unanimous and handed down by a bench of three judges – Judges Thoba Poyo-Dlwati, Bhekisisa Mnguni and Esther Steyn.
Parts of Zuma’s affidavit struck out
The court also struck out parts of Zuma’s replying affidavit on the grounds that “they are scandalous and/or vexatious and that they constitute impermissible new matter.”
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) made the application to strike out the parts after Zuma claimed Advocate Billy Downer, who acts for the state, was “nostalgic for apartheid-era prosecutions.”
The Court further dismissed an application by Thales, the French company accused along with Zuma, to strike out parts of Downer’s answering affidavit.
The order means that trial may begin on 15 October. The full judgement will be made available in due course.
Zuma was present in court with only a smattering of his supporters. He joked with them that he has to sell his hats and socks to pay his legal bills.
Controversial Black First Land First leader Andile Mngxitama was also seen outside court.
Zuma’s arms deal matter
Zuma faces 18 charges dating back to 2005. They relate to 783 payments, amounting to around R4 million, he allegedly received from his ex-financial advisor Schabir Shaik and his companies.
The state also alleges that Thales had agreed to pay Zuma an annual amount of R500,000 for “political protection” from investigations relating to the controversial arms deal. Shaik allegedly facilitated the agreement.
During hearings in May, Zuma’s lawyers argued that the state’s 15-year delay in bringing the charges against him meant there wouldn’t be a fair trial.
They also argued that there was political interference because NPA allegedly discussed the trial with “political players.”