NPA maintains it has credible witnesses, evidence in case against Zuma, Thales

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) maintained that it had a watertight case, arguing that the issues raised by former President Jacob Zuma’s legal counsel were secondary to the corruption case he needed to answer to.

FILE: Former South African President Jacob Zuma stands in the dock during the recess of his corruption trial at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on 26 May 2021. Picture: Phill Magakoe/AFP

PIETERMARITZBURG - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) maintained that it had a watertight case, arguing that the issues raised by former President Jacob Zuma’s legal counsel were secondary to the corruption case he needed to answer to.

It maintained that it had credible witnesses who had waited years to testify against the former president.

The matter was postponed to 19 July.

Earlier on Wednesday, Zuma pleaded not guilty to all 16 charges before him.

READ: Zuma pleads not guilty to arms deal corruption charges

The State is pursuing corruption, money laundering, racketeering and fraud charges against him and French arms company, Thales, over the 1999 arms deal contract.

The NPA’s Sipho Ngwema: "We have to tick each and every box to make sure that our prosecution is in line with prosecution policy. And in terms of things, we have credible evidence, credible witnesses, in fact, we have all it takes for us to be able to prosecute this case. So nothing has been lost in terms of time and therefore we are able to proceed two decades later."

Meanwhile, African National Congress (ANC) KwaZulu-Natal secretary, Mdumiseni Ntuli, has once again defended the party’s decision to stand by Zuma.

Ntuli joined leaders addressing hundreds of supporters at Freedom Square outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Last week, Ntuli and provincial chairperson, Sihle Zikalala, were jeered by supporters.

Ntuli insisted that the organisation was correct to stand by the former leader’s side.

"We said, 'look, we can't allow a situation where a long-standing decision like this one is simply taken away from our right as an organisation'. But of course, the other issue is that we couldn't allow people to descend onto the streets where former president Zuma is appearing in court in order to soil the name and reputation of our movement."

READ: Zuma pleads not guilty to arms deal corruption charges

Zuma pleads not guilty to arms deal corruption charges

The NPA said it was ready to move ahead with the trial, which saw Zuma and French arms company Thales face a raft of criminal charges stemming from the infamous arms deal.

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