Former President Jacob Zuma has withdrawn his corruption trial appeal at the Constitutional Court, the JG Zuma Foundation announced in a statement on Wednesday.
Zuma had filed the appeal in a bid to overturn a Pietermaritzburg high court ruling that had dismissed his application for a permanent stay of prosecution.
The Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed the same bid in March. The matter relates to the infamous Arms Deal of the late 1990s, but Zuma was first charged in 2005.
‘Real beneficiaries of Arms Deal’
The Foundation said, “This indeed paves way for him to prepare for the trial and demonstrate that he has never benefitted from any Arms Deal corruption or tried to evade the trial. He hopes that his innocence will indeed be demonstrated.”
It added that Zuma “appreciates the support he continues to receive” from South Africans and “expresses his unreserved respect for the judiciary.”
The ex-President said, “I hope that our citizens will finally get some certainty and closure as to the real beneficiaries of the Arms Deal if any corruption in that regard did occur.”
According to the Foundation, Zuma “has always sought to clear his name before our courts.”
Trial to resume on 6 May
Zuma faces 18 charges relating 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 French arms group Thales agreed to pay Zuma an annual amount of R500,000 for “political protection” from investigations relating to the arms deal. Shaik allegedly facilitated the agreement.
The former President has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing and has maintained that the case is politically motivated.
The trial is set to resume on 6 May after Zuma failed to appear at the Pietermaritzburg high court in February. His previous attorney, Daniel Mantsha, produced a medical note as proof that he was too ill to attend.
However, the court doubted the note’s veracity and issued a warrant of arrest for Zuma, but stayed it until the trial date.
Earlier this month, Zuma terminated Mantsha’s mandate and replaced him with well-known attorney Eric Mabuza.