Jacob Zuma's arms deal matter expected to be rescheduled

The case against former president Jacob Zuma and French arms manufacturer Thales returns to the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday, when their trial is again expected to be rescheduled.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Another day, another delay in the arms deal trial.

The case against former president Jacob Zuma and French arms manufacturer Thales returns to the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday, when their trial is again expected to be rescheduled.

In May, Judge Piet Koen, who’s presiding over the case, postponed it to Monday pending a decision from Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) President Mandisa Maya regarding Zuma’s efforts to salvage his failed special plea challenging state advocate Billy Downer’s to prosecute him.

Judge Maya has since closed the door on him. But Zuma’s now turned to the Constitutional Court.

Last year, the High Court refused Zuma leave to appeal its dismissal of his special plea. Zuma then petitioned the SCA itself but was again unsuccessful.

The former president then petitioned Judge Maya to step in and send the matter back to the bench to reconsider it, but she has also since declined.

And so, Zuma now wants the Constitutional Court to effectively override her and send the matter back itself.

How successful his bid will be in the long term remains to be seen but it places the trial on ice for now.

When it was last in court in May, Judge Piet Koen postponed the case to Monday as a holding date and tentatively set it down for trial on 15 August.

The latter was, however, contingent on there not being an application for leave to appeal before the Constitutional Court, which there now is.

Zuma is not expected in court on Monday and was, along with Thales, excused on the previous occasion.