Expert not holding his breath that Zuma's trial will go ahead in August

The case returned to the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday.

FILE: Former South African President Jacob Zuma removes his eyeglasses as he addresses the media at his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal on 4 July 2021. Picture: Emmanuel Croset/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - An expert said he is not holding their breaths on former president Jacob Zuma’s corruption trial going ahead in August.

The case returned to the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday.

This was for an update on a petition Zuma’s lodged with Supreme Court of Appeal Judge President Mandisa Maya.

He wants her to reconsider an application for leave to appeal against the High Court's dismissal of his special plea to remove Billy Downer from his case after two appeal judges initially dismissed it out of hand.

Had the matter been dealt with by Tuesday, the case would have gone to trial on the 31st of this month.

But it emerged in court that - as of Monday at least - Maya still hadn’t even received the papers.

And so proceedings were postponed until 1 August.

If his appeal efforts are exhausted by then, then a trial will resume on 15 August.

But Dr Llewleyn Curlewis, a law professor at the University of Pretoria, isn’t optimistic this will be the case.

"On the assumption that the SCA gives a judgment rather sooner than later, we can expect that Zuma's legal team will probably in all likelihood then take the matter to the constitutional court on a further possible appeal or petition procedure. And for sure I cannot see that by that time in August we will have a judgment ready by the Constitutional Court. So it’s highly unlikely".