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Wim Trengove: Zuma can’t rely on spy tapes for permanent stay of prosecution

Former president Jacob Zuma’s lawyers have used excerpts from the spy tapes to argue that the case against him is politically motivated.

FILE: Former president Jacob Zuma outside the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg addressing supporters on 20 May 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

PIETERMARITZBURG - State lawyer Wim Trengove has told the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg that Jacob Zuma cannot rely on the spy tapes to argue for a permanent stay of prosecution because the decision by former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Mokotedi Mpshe to drop charges against him was based on the tapes and it was found to be irrational by a court of law.

Trengove is opposing Zuma’s application to have his corruption case, related to the multibillion-rand arms deal, struck off the roll.

Zuma’s lawyers have used excerpts from the spy tapes to argue that the case against him is politically motivated.

Mpshe relied on the tapes in his decision to drop the charges against the former president.

But Zuma conceded in the Supreme Court of Appeal that the decision to drop the charges against him was irrational.

Trengove said: “Mr Zuma conceded in the SCA (Supreme Court of Appeal) that Mpshe’s reasoning was irrational. The SCA held that Mr Mpshe’s reasoning was irrational. So, that irrational justification of his decision can’t now be invoked in justification of anything.”

He said both the concession by Zuma and the judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal effectively meant that Mpshe was wrong to conclude his prosecution decision was infected by irregularity.

‘ZUMA’S POLITICAL CAREER FLOURISHED’

The NPA insisted Zuma had not suffered reputational damage from delays to his corruption trial, arguing he had benefited from them.

The former president has argued that the delays in bringing his corruption case to trial have prejudiced him to the point that his name is now synonymous with corruption.

Trengrove disagreed.

“He suffers the vulnerability of important celebrities with a high profile,” said Trengrove.

He said the former president’s political career had flourished.

“Mr Zuma’s public career flourished during this period. He continued to serve as a deputy president until after the conviction of Schabir Shaik. In December 2017, while still living under this cloud, he ousted then president (Thabo) Mbeki as president of the ANC (African National Congress) and he was elected president of South Africa,” Trengrove said.

He also told the court Zuma’s reputation was affected by his association with Shaik and not the delays in charging him.

WATCH: Thales witnesses, nowhere to be found

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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