NPA: Zuma's rights will be protected during his corruption trial

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said that former President Jacob Zuma was guaranteed a free and fair trial in the corruption case against him as per his constitutional rights.

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) said that former President Jacob Zuma was guaranteed a free and fair trial in the corruption case against him as per his constitutional rights.

This comes amid calls by Zuma for the removal of lead State prosecutor, Advocate Billy Downer, from the case, claiming that he was biased and associated with the Democratic Alliance (DA), a hostile political party.

Zuma on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to allegations of corruption during the arms deal of the late 1990s.

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Zuma pleads not guilty to arms deal corruption charges
NPA maintains it has credible witnesses, evidence in case against Zuma, Thales

He has alleged that Advocate Downer was biased because he wrote an affidavit in a case that the DA successfully launched against him.

In an address to his supporters after appearing in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, Zuma further accused Downer of conspiring with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States and of leaking information to the media.

NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said that Zuma's claims had been previously dismissed by the courts.

He said that the former statesman's rights would be protected during the trial.

"South African courts are independent and I think they have a proven record in terms of their independence and they're able to dispense justice without fear, favour or prejudice."

Zuma's co-accused, French arms company Thales, has also pleaded not guilty.

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