Jacob Zuma, Thales expected in court for start of arms deal trial

The former president's legal team expected to ask for another postponement.

Former President Jacob Zuma appears in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 31 January 2022. Picture: Nhlanhla Mabaso/Eyewitness News

PIETERMARITZBURG - Jacob Zuma and Thales return to the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday for what is supposed to be the start of the arms deal trial.

But with the former president's legal team expected to ask for another postponement, whether or not it will go ahead is unclear at this stage.

When Judge Piet Koen dismissed Zuma's application for leave to appeal the outcome of his special plea, and various other relief that he had been seeking, and ordered the trial to proceed today, he did not mince his words, saying that the prosecution had already been delayed "considerably and unreasonably".

But while the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has already kicked to touch a second appeal bid, Zuma’s now trying to get Judge President Mandisa Maya to intervene.

In the meantime, his legal team said that the matter would in all likelihood land up in the Constitutional Court and that a forced trial at this stage would prejudice Zuma and could wind up being an "exercise in futility".

The postponement bid is, however, expected to face staunch opposition from the State, with National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga saying on Sunday that any further delay wasn’t in the best interests of any party.

WATCH LIVE: Jacob Zuma, Thales in dock as arms deal trial gets under way