‘It’s a political vendetta’: Zuma’s supporters disappointed over trial

Black First Land First president Andile Mngxitama said Jacob Zuma was a victim of a political plot.

FILE: Former South African President Jacob Zuma argued that the charges against him were politically motivated, but the court was not convinced. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Pool.

PIETERMARITZBURG – Former President Jacob Zuma’s supporters said they were disappointed but not surprised after the Pietermaritzburg High Court dismissed his application for a permanent stay of prosecution with costs on Friday.

Earlier this year, the former president, who faces charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering related to the multi-billion rand arms deal, argued in court why he wanted his case to be struck off the roll.

Zuma argued that the charges against him were politically motivated, but the court was not convinced.

However, Judge Bhekisisa Mnguni on Friday dismissed the application brought by Zuma and arms manufacturer Thales.

“The application brought by Jacob Zuma is dismissed with costs.”

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Mguni added: “The application by Thales South Africa under case number D12763/2018 is dismissed with costs. I am done with judgment and the court will adjourn.”

The trial is set for next Tuesday and Zuma’s supporters said they would mobilise support.

WATCH: Zuma in court for corruption case

Former speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature Meshack Hadebe said while he was disappointed, the judgment was expected.

“We were expecting this. When you look at the events, you don’t need to be clever to see what’s going on.”

Black First Land First president Andile Mngxitama said Zuma was a victim of a political plot.

“This matter was handled already. It’s just being dragged on by the administration of Cyril Ramaphosa. It’s a political vendetta against those who drive radical economic transformation.”

‘POLITICALLY MOTIVATED’

The court ruled that Zuma failed to prove there were no reasonable and probable grounds for his successful prosecution.

It said even if Zuma’s claims were true, it wouldn’t prove that there were no probable grounds for a successful prosecution against the former head of state.

The court also ruled that the so-called Spy Tapes, which Zuma referenced as proof of this political attack, didn't impinge on the merits of the case.

The full bench of judges mentioned that Zuma himself conceded in the Supreme Court of Appeal that the decision to withdraw the corruption charges against him based on the tapes was irrational.