Abrahams and NPA to oppose attempt preventing Zuma from standing trial

Abrahams says the matter of Zuma will now be referred to the KwaZulu-Natal Director of Public Prosecutions to set in motions steps to secure the accused in court.

Jacob Zuma delivering an address on 14 February 2018 in which he announced his resignation as president of South Africa. Picture: GCIS

PRETORIA – While National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams announced his decision to proceed with the case against former president Jacob Zuma, there appears to be yet another attempt to prevent him from having his day in court.

At the announcement in Pretoria on Friday, the advocate revealed that an application for a permanent stay of prosecution has been lodged in Cape Town.

While Zuma raised complaints of prosecutorial misconduct and impropriety Abrahams says a trial court is the best place to hear these arguments.

Abrahams says the matter of Zuma will now be referred to the KwaZulu-Natal Director of Public Prosecutions to set in motions steps to secure the accused in court.

But he says an NGO, which he didn't identify, has launched an application for a permanent stay of Zuma’s prosecution.

“I, along with the National Prosecuting Authority, have been cited as respondents in this matter. I’ve instructed the state attorney to brief senior council to oppose this application.”

While it’s unclear who has brought the case to court, this route remains a legal option for the former president.

Meanwhile, lawyers acting for French arms company Thint says Abrahams has not contacted them to inform them that their client will be recharged.

Abrahams did not announce a decision relating to Thint but did refer to former president Jacob Zuma' s co-accused.

Thint's attorney said they have been in contact with the NPA about this matter but Abrahams did not specifically contact them to inform them that their client will be re-charged.

When former acting NPA head Mokotedi Mpshe took the decision to withdraw charges against Zuma, he also withdrew charges against Thint.

But the subsequent legal challenge from the Democratic Alliance on that decision only related to Zuma and not to Thint.

Abrahams refused to allow Thint to make representations but the former president's lawyers were allowed to do so.