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NPA questions whether Zuma was acting in good faith in arms deal case

'How does one explain good faith litigation for eight and a half years if at the end of the line there is a capitulation and a concession that that decision had been irrational?' asked the NPA's advocate Wim Trengove.

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

PRETORIA - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has questioned whether former President Jacob Zuma was acting in good faith when he spent nearly a decade fighting the attempt to review the decision not to prosecute him.

That was among the submissions in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday where the NPA was opposing an application by Zuma and arms manufacturer Thales for a permanent stay of prosecution.

The case relates to the controversial late 1990s arms deal. Zuma faces charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

The court set aside former prosecution boss Mokotedi Mpshe's 2009 decision to withdraw the fraud and corruption case against the former president.

The NPA's advocate Wim Trengove told the court Zuma had opposed the review application at every step but made an about-turn in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

“That was after eight and a half years of litigation. Mr Zuma's side, and my side to, the NPA, conceded that the decision had been irrational on the merits. The question then is, how does one explain good faith litigation for eight and a half years if at the end of the line there is a capitulation and a concession that that decision had been irrational?”

He said the former president was well within his rights to use the courts to oppose the review application.

“But that is not the point today, the question today is, is it open to Mr Zuma to blame the NPA for the delay in his prosecution? And we submit, with respect, that the primary cause of the delay was the protracted litigation by Mr Zuma over a period of almost 14 years.”

The court also has heard that the nature and the seriousness of the crimes allegedly committed by Zuma must be considered when deciding his application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

Trengove said: “Fundamental to the rule of law is the principle that everyone is equal before the law. And it is important therefore that when a very powerful public official is accused of a very serious crime, that he be seen to be treated as everybody else, and that he does not receive special treatment.”

WATCH LIVE: NPA argues against granting Zuma stay of prosecution

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