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Zuma, Thales corruption trial to start on 17 May

State prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer said that an agreement had been reached with the lawyers of Jacob Zuma and French arms firm, Thales, for the trial to commence on 17 May.

Jacob Zuma’s legal team and senior State prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer exchange a few words in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 23 February 2021. Picture: Nkosikhona Duma/Eyewitness News

PIETERMARITZBURG - The case against former President Jacob Zuma and French arms company Thales has been finally declared as trial-ready and will begin on 17 May.

Zuma and Thales face corruption, racketeering and money laundering charges linked to the arms deal.

The matter was heard in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday morning in absentia of the accused.

Senior State prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer, the former president’s attorney, Rudolph Baloyi, and legal representative for Thales, Advocate Barry Roux, appeared before Judge Nkosinathi Chili this morning.

Both the defence and accused told the court that they were ready to commence with the trial.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)’s Natasha Kara: "The matter was certified as trial-ready and the trial date was set. The trial dates are the 17th May to the 20th June 2021."

The State said that it had lined up 217 witnesses for the trial.

The accused have agreed to present themselves to the court when the trial starts in May.

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