D-Day for Zuma to submit papers for stay of prosecution

In July, Jacob Zuma’s new legal team showed its hand for the first time, requesting time to put together an application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

Former President Jacob Zuma in the Randburg Magistrates Court to support his son Duduzane on 26 October 2018. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

DURBAN - Former President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers have until the end of Friday to submit papers arguing against going to trial.

In July, Zuma’s new legal team showed its hand for the first time, requesting time to put together an application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

The former president is facing charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering, and money laundering related to the multi-billion rand controversial arms deal concluded in the late 90s.

The permanent stay of prosecution application is expected to focus on a political conspiracy against Zuma, the executive’s interference and the protracted amount of time it’s taken for the matter to reach the court.

On the trial delays, constitutional law Professor Pierre de Vos says that Zuma’s lawyers will also have to look at their client’s contribution toward the numerous postponements.

“You have to look at the conduct of both the accused and the prosecution. If the accused person contributed to the delay, it will be more difficult for that person to argue that permanent stay of prosecution should be given.”

If the High Court rejects arguments made by Zuma’s lawyers, they can still go to the Supreme Court of Appeal, and if necessary, the Constitutional Court to appeal the lower court’s finding.

The appeals mean it could be years before Zuma’s trial ever begins.

Read Ziyanda Ngcobo's explainer on Jacob Zuma's chances of being granted a permanent stay of prosecution.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)