Zuma’s constitutional rights to privacy violated, lawyers argue

This submission will form part of a fresh application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

FILE: Supporters of former President Jacob Zuma outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 27 July 2018. Picture: Babalo Ndenze/EWN

DURBAN - Former President Jacob Zuma’s new lawyers plan to argue that his fundamental constitutional rights to privacy were violated during the spy tapes saga - making the case against him unfair.

This submission will form part of a fresh application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

Zuma is facing 16 charges of corruption, money laundering, fraud, and racketeering related to the multibillion-rand arms deal.

He appeared in the Pietermaritzburg High Court earlier on Friday where his lawyers claimed the former president is the victim of political interference and pre-trial irregularities.

Zuma’s new senior counsel Mike Hellens says the spy tapes saga has implications for the former president’s constitutional rights.

“It is the significance, in terms of pretrial irregularity and the undermining of the constitutional principles of privacy and regular conduct vis a vis any suspect that the spy tapes will come into being.”

Hellens says the interference of the executive in prosecutorial matters will form part of their application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

This fresh application must be submitted by 16 November and Zuma's lawyers believe the prospects of success are high.

Hellens said: “It’s sad for this country, executive interference at the highest level with prosecutorial independence.”

He has taken a swipe at the State's claims that it is ready to go to trial.

“We also know that the State in its holiness and readiness for trial are considering amending the indictment at this late stage. Although that may be of use to accused number two, it brings to light the possibility of further statements and there’s always a knock-on effect. If there’s another charge to accused number two, it has to somehow relate to Mr Zuma.”

The State will be given a month to respond to the submissions made by Zuma's lawyers.

Zuma will be back in court on 30 November.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)