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Jacob Zuma wants his corruption trial to start soon, say lawyers

The former president faces charges linked to the multi-billion-rand arms deal.

FILE: Former President Jacob Zuma in court on 23 May 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Former President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers on Tuesday said he would reject plans by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to move his corruption trial date to next year, saying Zuma wanted it to start as soon as possible.

The former stateman’s lawyers said they had seen communication between KwaZulu-Natal judge president Achmat Jappie and the NPA, in which the State indicated it planned to apply for the trail to be postponed next month.

The legal team claimed that was because the NPA was preparing to amend the original indictment to include further charges against Zuma.

The former president faces charges linked to the multi-billion-rand arms deal.

In April, Zuma withdrew his Constitutional Court bid to stop his corruption trial, saying he wanted to prove his innocence in court.

His lawyers said they were disappointed to learn that the State wanted to postpone the start of the trial to next year.

They said the NPA was on record stating that it was ready to prosecute Zuma.

The lawyers also said they were concerned that the NPA and the KZN judge president discussed the State’s intentions to apply for an amendment to the indictment to include a number of payments from the Shaik/Nkobi group to Zuma.

They argued it was inappropriate for the judge to know the State’s evidence before trial started, and for Zuma not to be included in the talks.