Arms deal trial: Court says Zuma’s claims of political interference baseless

A full bench in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday dismissed Jacob Zuma’s application for leave to appeal a court decision that he should stand trial for fraud, corruption, and racketeering.

FILE: Jacob Zuma waiting to address his supporters outside the Durban High Court on 8 June 2018. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

DURBAN - The judges presiding in former President Jacob Zuma’s matter on Friday said allegations of political interference in the case were never been proven and the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) would not be convinced that Zuma’s rights were violated.

A full bench in the Pietermaritzburg High Court dismissed Zuma’s application for leave to appeal a court decision that he should stand trial. The court also found that Zuma’s arguments that he was targeted by his political enemies were not genuine and dismissed his application with costs.

Zuma faces charges of fraud, corruption, and racketeering linked to the arms deal together with French arms company Thales.

Judges Jerome Mnguni, Esther Steyn, and Thoba Poyo-Dlwati said allegations of political interference in Zuma’s case were baseless because they were not proven. The judges said the SCA would not be persuaded by that argument because Zuma’s lawyers relied on overturned judgments and reports.

The judges also dismissed with costs Thales’ application to appeal the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision to reinstate charges against the company.

The company accused former prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams of acting irrationally when he brought back charges against the company, but the judges disagreed and said the SCA would also uphold that decision.