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Zuma lawyers given deadline to submit application for stay of prosecution

The matter has now been provisionally postponed until 30 November 2018.

FILE: Former South African President Jacob Zuma in the Durban High Court on 8 June 2018. He is charged with 16 counts that include fraud‚ corruption and racketeering. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla /Pool

PIETERMARITZBURG - Jacob Zuma’s lawyers have been ordered to file papers for their application for a permanent stay of prosecution against the former president by mid-November.

Zuma’s new senior counsel, Mike Hellens has indicated that he no longer intends bringing a review application to have the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) reconsider its decision to prosecute him.

Instead, the former president will now turn to the courts and try to argue that there are defects with the case and therefore the prosecution cannot go ahead.

Hellens has cited executive interference and pre-trial irregularities as some of the pillars of the application.

As anticipated, Zuma’s new legal dream team has brought a fresh application, indicating they intend filing papers for a permanent stay of prosecution.

On Friday morning, the State pushed for that filing to happen in the next four weeks.

Hellens, though, argued that the retirement of his predecessor, Kemp J Kemp, was significant because he had worked on the matter for many years.

Hellens told the court that certain documents need to be handed over and these may contribute significantly toward the legal argument for a stay of prosecution.

Deputy Judge President Mjabuliseni Madondo agreed that the defence should be given more time to prepare.

Zuma’s lawyers have been ordered to submit their papers by 16 November, giving them more than three months to familiarise themselves with the matter.

High profile and controversial individuals turned out for Zuma's court appearance, like former South African Airways chairperson Dudu Myeni, and former ministers Des van Rooyen and Faith Muthambi.

Some sang and chanted their way to the gathering point opposite the courthouse.

Some supporters have come in from as far as the Free State.

“First of all, I did not come here to gain anything. I came here to support comrade Jacob Zuma as a fellow comrade and a friend. I do not want a job [and] money, I want nothing,” the MKMVA's Carl Niehaus said.

Niehaus says they won't stop mobilising support for the former president until the trial concludes or until the charges against him are withdrawn.

Additional reporting by Babalo Ndenze.