NPA dismisses claims of irregularity in separate prosecution of Zuma, Shaik

In 2003, then prosecutions boss Bulelani Ngcuka decided not to prosecute Jacob Zuma when the NPA initiated the case against Schabir Shaik, but later went ahead after Shaik’s conviction.

Former president Jacob Zuma at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on 23 May 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

PRETORIA - The Pietermaritzburg High Court has been asked to reject former President Jacob Zuma’s argument that he has been prejudiced because he was not prosecuted at the same time as his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) presented this argument on Thursday as it opposed an application brought by Zuma and French arms company Thales for a permanent stay of prosecution.

In 2003, then prosecutions boss Bulelani Ngcuka decided not to prosecute Zuma when the NPA initiated the case against Shaik, but later went ahead after Shaik’s conviction.

Zuma argued he was prejudiced because he would have had an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses during his trial.

Advocate Wim Trengove referred to case law which holds that a trial will not be deemed irregular or unfair if the NPA decides to prosecute one accused but not the other.

An accused doesn’t have a right to have their trial designed to their advantage, he said.

"It’s for the prosecution to decide whom to charge together or separately. There’s no inherent right for the accused to have the combination designed to maximise the benefit to him. So, we submit, with respect, that the decision of Mr Ngcuka was entirely lawful,” said Trengove.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)