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Jacob Zuma's new lawyer says his services not for free

When former President Jacob Zuma argued for his corruption trial to be thrown out last year, his lawyer Advocate Muzi Sikhakhana told the court that his client did not have the money to finance his corruption trial.

FILE: Former President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Despite Jacob Zuma pleading poverty in the past, his new lawyer Eric Mabuza said that his services for the former president would not be for free.

Zuma revealed on Sunday that he had fired his defence attorney Daniel Mantsha and hired Mabuza.

The former president said he did this because he wanted to focus on the preparation for his corruption trial in which he faces charges linked to the multi-billion rand arms deal.

He is expected back in the Pietermaritzburg High Court next month and has a suspended arrest warrant hanging over his head after he failed to appear in his last hearing, citing ill health.

When former President Jacob Zuma argued for his corruption trial to be thrown out last year, his lawyer Advocate Muzi Sikhakhana told the court that his client did not have the money to finance his corruption trial.

The former president himself told his supporters outside the court that he had to sell his hats and socks in order to pay his legal fees.

Given this context, his new lawyer Eric Mabuza was asked if his services would be pro bono.

"No, that's not going to be the case here."

The former president has also been accused of planning to apply delaying tactics, by using Mabuza’s appointment to ask for a postponement next month so that the new lawyer can familiarise himself with the case.

But Mabuza said that a postponement would not be necessary.

"My appointment will not in any way be made the start of the trial."

He has also confirmed that he was with Zuma and the former president was doing well and in high spirits, ready for his trial.