De Lille: I’m happy Zuma will finally have his day in court

Former President Jacob Zuma has been charged, together with French arms company Thales, on counts of fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

FILE: Former South African president Jacob Zuma who is facing fraud and corruption charges greets supporters in the gallery of the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on 17 May 2021. Picture: Rogan Ward/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille on Monday said she was happy that there appeared to be progress in ensuring that former President Jacob Zuma had his day in court so that he could answer to the allegations against him.

Zuma has been charged, together with French arms company Thales, on counts of fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

De Lille, who blew the whistle on arms deal-related corruption almost 22 years ago, is the State's first key witness in the matter and is expected to take the stand next Wednesday after the matter was postponed on Monday.

She said if there was a strong response to arms-related corruption in 1999, the country's democracy would be stronger.

“Instead, what happened in 1999, they shot the messengers and then after the government’s defence of the corruption, it became a free for all.”

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She said the entire arms deal matter was shredded in lies and corruption.

“The way the arms deal was sold to South Africa was that government was going to invest R30 billion and create 160,000 jobs [but] it never materialised.”

In the meantime, Zuma’s lawyer advocate Thabani Masuku said his client intended to plead not guilty.

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