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LIVE BLOG: 'Case against Zuma is a very serious & strong case' says state

French arms firm Thales, the co-accused in former President Jacob Zuma's corruption case, is presenting arguments on why the matter should be dismissed.

State lawyer Wim Trengove has told the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg that Jacob Zuma cannot rely on the spy tapes to argue for a permanent stay of prosecutionbecause the decision by former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Mokotedi Mpshe to drop charges against him was based on the tapes and it was found to be irrational by a court of law.

The state's Andrew Breitenbach says Thales is to blame for the delay from 2004 onwards. 

ICYMI: The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has questioned whether former President Jacob Zuma was acting in good faith when he spent nearly a decade fighting the attempt to review the decision not to prosecute him.

We start with the delay and the responsibility for it.

The state now deals with Thales stay of prosecution application.r

Court resumes after a lunch break.

Trengrove argues that If zuma is granted permanent stay of prosecution “he will be seen to be receiving special treatment. He managed to avoid prosecution when he was in highest office. “ he says Zuma He used public funds to avoid trial.

Trengrove says Zuma must be seen as being treated as anyone one would in the eyes of the law.

The case against Mr Zuma is a very serious and strong case. There is no trial prejudice.

Trengrove says Zuma's association with Shaik also caused reputational harm. 

Trengrove says Zuma was never jailed so he was not caused any harm in that regard, but he did suffer reputational damage because of the prosecution. None of these have anything to do with the delay.

Trengrove says Zuma was the cause of the delay, he participated in it.

Trengrove now goes into Zuma's complaints about the case being delayed.

Trengrove says Zuma's rights were never vioated by then-NDPP Mpshe's decision, his office as deputy president may have been, but not his rights.

Zuma being proscuted separately is lawful, says Trengrove.

An accused doesn't have a right to have his trial designed to his advantage, Trengrove says.

Trengrove says Zuma saying he should've been prosecuted with Shaik means he would've not been a compelling witness in the trial.

Trengrove says decidng to prosecute was based on whether there was merit to do so and there was.

Trengrove now deals with Zuma's complaints on the previous NDPP's decisions. He says the Mpshe and Pikoli decisions were not politically motivated.

ANC MP Mosebenzi Zwane has been spotted inside the court.

Trengrove says all the arguments which argue a political consiopracy are totally out of place.

Trengrove says there must be abalance between protecting the accused and the interests of the public, even more so when a crime is very serious, such as this one.

Trengrove says the right to a fair trial is not one-sided to the accused. It also applies to the public represented by the state.

"There is also a significant rule of law consideration, fundamental to the law is that all are innocent until proven guilty." He says it's important for Zuma to not receive special treatment because of the power he holds.

Trengrove says these serious crimes have been allegedly committed by a very high profile oerson.

He says there is a public interest to ensure that crime is prosecuted. He says the more serious the crime, the more public interest there will be and it's important to understand the seriousness against the charges against Zuma.

Trengrove says they don't intend on lecturing the court on corruption.

The NPA regarded this following affidavit as unsolicited and an attempt to disrupt the Shaik trial.

The warrants for the Thales official's arrest were subsequently withdrawn in May 2004. The NPA still received another affidavit from them.

It is absolutely clear in the context of the affidavit that the Thales official was willing to cooperate with the NPA, Trengrove explains.

The NPA was prepared to withdraw warrants of arrest and subpoenas against Thales representatives.

Trengrove ays in Ngcuka's affidavit, it deals with his decision in April 2004 to withdraw the prosecution against Thales. 

Dr Maduna was contacted by an attorney to request another meeting with SA authorities, saying Thales was ready to cooperate. A meeting was then held in Maduna's house with Ngcuka, Thales and others. During the meeting, Thales said they would contact Ngcuka's office to discuss their cooperation.

Ngcuka met again with another Thales representative, where they agreed that two warrants of arrest would be subtracted.

Trengrove submits to court that “at the end of the day, there is no evidence that the decision to prosecute Zuma was politically motivated”.

Trengrove now turns to what he calls Thales deception by which they escaped prosecution with Shaik.

Trengrove says the reasons that motivated Zuma being charged shouldn’t matter because evidence is strong against Zuma.

Trengrove now deals with spy tapes, “the decision by Mpshe to drop charges against Zuma based on spy tapes was held to be irrational “. He argues that Zuma cannot rely on those tapes.

Trengrove “there is a very compelling case against Jacob Zuma."

Trengrove is arguing that “there is a joint responsibility” in delays to getting Zuma’s corruption case to trial. “Both parties share the responsibility of the initial delay”.




Trengrove says it’s not appropriate for Zuma to blame the NPA for the delays when the two of them were responsible for the delays.

Trengrove admits that the NPA is also to blame for the delays in getting the corruption case to trial.

Trengrove says Zuma cant come and complain about delays because “you were responsible for those”.

Trengrove “We are not asking you to punish him for his Stalingrad approach, but he is here asking you to stop his case because of his Stalingrad approach, the delays were a result of his Stalingrad approach. “

Judge Mnguni comes in “But was it not within his right to approach courts?”.
Trengrove “He had a right to approach the courts. But the purpose was to delay”.

Trengrove says there was a Consistent pattern of litigation designed ultimately to delay the case. Says Zuma lost all the cases where he tried to delay his day in court.

Wim Trengrove for the state, explains what issues he will highlight in his arguments. “The first is Zuma’s Stalingrad Defence, the second is a decision to prosecute Zuma, third is there is no evidence that the charges against Zuma were politically motivated”.

We adjourn for the day.

The states wants Thales application to strike be dismissed with costs. It now deals with Zuma's application in his responding affidavit.

The state says both Zuma and Thales have applied for a stay of prosecution based on unreasonable delays in the case.

Adv Adhikari says the witnesses are not in SA and Interpol can't find them.

Judge Poto-Dlwati asks why Thales did not attach a medical report to substantiate the claims of a medical condition so that the judges could understand this condition and be in a better position to make an informed judgement. 

The defence does not have evidence to prove that one of the witnesses has Alzheimer and thus can't testify. 

Adv Adhikari talks a bit about Alzheimer disease because one of the witnesses allegedly has it. The judges want clarity on that..

Judge Mnguni wants more detail about “Where are these witnesses whom you say are no longer available to Thales”...


Judge Steyn doesn't seem convinced by Adv Adhikari says the charges were not withdrawn against their client.

Adhikari says I don't want to be misunderstood that the charges facing Thales are not serious, they are serious.

Adhikari says by its own admission, the State concedes in its papers that Thales has in no way contributed toward trial delays up until 2009. 

Junior counsel for Thales, Mushahida Adhikari now making representations. 

The lunch break is over...

The court breaks for lunch...

Katz says lying was the reason for the delay of justice for Thales for 9 years.

Will Thales get a fair trial? Katz doesn’t believe so because he’s again reiterated that based on the facts he submitted and the previous treatment of his clients by the NDPP and the NPA.


Katz says it’s impossible for Thales to secure witnesses hence an application for stay of prosecution. The judge tells him that it’s for the trial judge to deal with that.

Katz: “Will a trial against Thales be fair? Thales can’t obtain fair trial given the facts of this case.”

 “It would be procedurally incorrect to charge Thales because the French Arms company has nothing to do with the court delays that subsequently led to the trial not getting underway.” Katz argues.

Katz refers to procedural fairness...


The French Company accused of bribing Jacob Zuma-has suggested to the Pietermaritzburg high court that the NPA has abused it's power-in pursuing charges against the arms company. 

Katz says the NPA chose not to prosecute Thales in 2009.

A screengrab of uBaba Zuma during court proceedings.

"When you want to rely on the letter of Mr Abrahams, you have to look at it together." The judges argue.

Katz requests to have a word with his team...

Katz is struggling to answer questions from the judges.

Katz is suggesting that Shawn Abarahms didn’t apply his mind or follow procedure in deciding that Thales must be charged with Zuma.

Was Abrahams’ decision rational? Asks Katz...

"I don't like it when you are not quoting my question properly," the judge tells Katz.

Anton Katz  says the French arms company is independent of Zuma & Zuma is independent of Thales.

We are back...

The court will take a tea break now...

“Abraham's never gave Thales an opportunity to make representations for why charges against them should be reinstated.” Katz said.

Katz says it's unfair because Zuma's charges have nothing to do with Thales. 

Judge Steyn responded by asking why the courts should have been expected to treat the two co-accused differently…

Adv Katz argued that when the SCA overturned Mphse's decision, Thales should have also remained out of the indictment. 

The judges ask Katz whether he believes there is a link with the two cases. He argues that when NPA Head Mokotedi Mphse dropped the charges, there wasn't mention of Thales. 

Judges are asking: Charges were dropped against Thales when Mpshe dropped them against Zuma, so why shouldn't they be reinstated along with Zuma's charges now?

Katz is facing tough questions on why he wants the charges dropped. 

Judge Poyo-Dlwati urges Katz to stop repeating the same argument and asks him to move on: “At times lawyers make a good argument but repeating it over and over ruins it”.

Katz: I hope the court has heard my arguments and agree with -
Judge Mnguni: We will digest it.

Katz is now being fetched by the streets...

Katz is being told by the judges that the court has to move because he is not making sense. 

Judge Mnguni says Katz's argument on Abrahams doesn't make sense. They are at loggerheads again.

Katz says the respondents are now relying on a section of the NPA act for Abrahams’s decision.

The argument has centred on the powers of the national director of public prosecutions and the powers in law to institute and conduct prosecutions.

Katz continues to say "this case is about power."

Katz has argued that former prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams relied on the incorrect provision in law to authorise the case against the company which renders the decision unlawful.

Katz says what we are dealing with in this case is a different original decision.

Katz’s submissions have degenerated to a question and answer segment with the full bench of judges who are attempting to follow his arguments...

Katz has his argument questioned by all three judges on the basis of his argument...

"The questions that are being posed to me support my argument," Katz tells the judges.

Katz: The respondents have provided no other independent reason as to why the NDPP took almost a decade to make the decision to reinstitute the prosecution. Nor have the respondents provided any evidence of special circumstances which justify the NDPP’s decision.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court:


Katz wants to present a letter which was new information and Judge Poyo-Dlwati says if the letter will be referred to, they need time to read them to be able to follow the flow of arguments.


Katz is being called to order by the judges for veering off from his heads of argument.


The judges tell Katz they haven't started the trial yet and he's jumping the gun...


Judge Poyo-Dlwati says if the letter will be referred to, they need time to read them to be able to follow the flow of arguments.

Katz wants to present a letter which was new information.  

Katz is being called to order by the judges for veering off from his heads of argument. 

The defence lawyer is Anton Katz.

Zuma is facing charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering and money-laundering related to the controversial multi-billion rand arms deal.

The French arms company is accused of bribing Jacob Zuma.

Thales's legal team is seeking that charges against them be permanently dropped.

The court is now hearing arguments from French arms company Thales.

Good morning and welcome back to EWN's live blog on former president Jacob Zuma's court appearance on corruption...

Zuma rounds up and sings Mshini Wami.

Zuma says the ANC will resolve the land issue and unemployment, no matter what detractors say. He tells the crowd to hold onto the party as the ANC was called to free SA.

Zuma says the ANC must remain in power because only it knows how far we've come to attain freedom.

Zuma says the ANC will rule for a long time. He thanks supporters for voting for it to stay as the ruling party.

Zuma calls on his supporters to continue backing the ANC, no matter what is going with his case.

Zuma says it's clear this case has a political agenda.

Zuma says his case has two sides; a legal and political side.

Zuma repeats his lawyers' arguments that Shaik's trial was used as a test to prosecute him later on. He says he was denied the chance to challenge the evidence against him at that time.

Zuma says there was a plan for him to never be free of the courts.

Zuma explains what a permanent stay of prosecution is and the arguments his lawyers were making today.

Zuma says no cases has dragged on and off as long as his.

Zuma says his rights have been unbelievably trampled on.

He says it's been 15 years with this case ongoing. He says there must be 5 judges who've overseen this case and that the courts keep bringing him back to court.

He is explaining who the judges overseeing this case are. 

He says today was day 1 of 4. After that, the court will make a date for judgement.

Zuma thanks all his supporters. He says he has the flu.

One of the imbongi's praises is that they are attacking an MK soldier. With that Zuma now comes on stage.

An imbongi praises Zuma before he ascends the stage.

Super Zuma says wherever Zuma goes, they will continue to support him.

Super Zuma now addresses the crowd.

Niehaus and Des van Rooyen greet the crowd

Dube thanks Zuma for campaigning for the ANC before elections. He says if he hadn't done so, they wouldn't have won so many seats.

Pastor Dube is first up. The crowd screams for Duduzane Zuma to come. He steps forward and they go wild.

Zuma's usual onstage supporters including Carl Niehaus, Andile Mngxitama and Pastor Dube are there.

WATCH LIVE: Former President Jacob Zuma addresses supporters outside court

Court adjourns for now.

There are 5 min until we conclude for the day.

Masuku says the court can't close its eyes when an injustice is committed, especially by an organ of state.

Masuku says the NPA can't flip flop when they are governed by the Constitution.

Masuku says we need to break away from 'apartheid-style' persecution in which the accused if tortured.

Masuku says this application for stay of prosecution is not an attack on the NPA, but a defense of Zuma's rights.

Masuku says the NPA has a duty to handle Zuma's case with dignity, no matter what it thinks of him.

Masuku says the court must choose the side that protects the rights of someone.

Masuku says a permanent stay of prosecution will prevent the abuse of Zuma and the courts.

"The NPA wants to use the courts to continue to abuse the rights of Mr Zuma and the courts should not allow it," Masukua says.

"The NPA cannot come to this court with dirty hands," Masuku says, again accusing it violating Zuma's constitutional rights.

Thabani Masuku, also part of Zuma's team, is now presenting to the court as Sikhakhane takes a seat.

Sikhakhane says Zuma was given the stigma of being a corrupt person, which is an exceptional occurrence that violates the values of the Constitution.

Sikhakhane says he invites the court to find whether or not if an organ of state acts unconstitutionally in pursuit of someone is acting in an exceptional way.

At this point, Sikhakhane is still presenting to judges that the delays in this case are not Zuma's fault.

Sikhakhane says violations of the Constitution in pursuit of 'the ugliest criminal we hate' cannot be condoned, which is what happened in Zuma's case.

Sikhakhane continues off from the conversation between Ngcuka and McCarthy.

Court is now back in session.

Court adjourns for lunch

Sikhakhane discusses a conversation between Ngcuka and McCarthy, talking about Zuma in 'disdain'. He says Ian Farlam was called a 'c*nt' in that conversation.

Sikhakhane is still arguing the case that the NPA is responsible for the delays in the case.

Sikhakhane now jumps to the time Mokotedi Mpshe was NDPP.

Sikhakhane says he will not concede that a caring state would warrant acting unlawfully because it doesn't like what people have done. Things must be done within the Constitution.

Sikhakhane says that a prosecutor has no reason to act unconstitutionally.

Sikhakhane says time and reasons are not mutually exclusive.

Judge asks if Sikhakhane concedes that the delays were because of certain reasons and not time.

Sikhakhane says the delays in this trial fall squarely on thr NPA.

"When the state said they were charging Zuma, they were not ready," Sikhakhane submits. He says Zuma's lawyers believe it is because they did it to leave him to hang to dry to be labelled as a corrupt person, prolonging that social stigma.

Sikhakhane says it is wrong to say Zuma wasn't prejudiced because he then lost his job as deputy president of SA.

Sikhakhane says the NPA's standards of dealing with different people are different.

Sikhakhane now moves on to when Vusi Pikoli became NDPP.

Sikhakhane suggests that the NPA used the power it had to target 'the scum' Zuma.

Sikhakhane says Zuma's absence in the Shaik trial amounted to him being tried and prosecuted in absence.

"Mr Zuma was denied the opportunity to challenge the evidence that prejudiced and implicated him."

"The evidence [in the Shaik trial] which implicated... prejudiced Zuma, was led."

Sikhakhane says when Bulelani Ngcuka resigned from the NPA in 2004, he left a trail of prosecution destruction, which led to the unfair treatment of Zuma. 

Sikhakhane says the court should take note of the involvement of a politician with the NPA. "There is no legal basis for a discussion in prosecution."

Sikhakhane says there was no reason to include Mr Maduna, a politician, in the decisions to prosecute.

Sikhakhane says the investigation was done in a clandestine manner with no legal basis. 

He submits that the delay was because he was not charged together with Shaik.

Advocate Sikhakhane now carries on from where he left off on who is to blame for this matter being delayed for so many years.

All agree on the holding date.

Court is back in session. The lawyers for Thales propose that the criminal trial be set for 15 October as a holding date after this case.

Zuma's lawyers say the matter has been allowed to drag out so that prosecutors can nail the "big fish" which is Zuma.

"A lot has happened in that trial of Mr Shaik... We are going to take you through what we think are prejudices."

Zuma's lawyers say they are exposing a pattern in this case going back to Shaik's trial.

Zuma's lawyers say Zuma could have been charged together with Schabir Shaik years ago.

"Mr Ngcuka's decisions, were politicial decisions."

Zuma's lawyers say the case was pursued overzealously despite advice from highly established prosecutors.

"The rogues that run this, ignore advice from upright prosecutors who just want to do their job."

Zuma's lawyer says a journalist was brought in to do a clandestine investigation on Zuma.

Zuma's lawyers say he was nailed unlawfully.

Zuma's lawyer says the relationship between Zuma and Schabir Shaik is at the centre of the Arms Deal.

Zuma's lawyers agree that in probing the Arms Deal, corruption is a matter to be taken seriously.

McCarthy is now accused of having told prosecutors to wait for the ANC Polokwane conference before prosecuting Zuma.

McCarthy, long after he left the NPA, was telling people how to prosecute some cases. McCarthy is a self-confessed Thabo Mbeki supporter.

Zuma's lawyer goes back to Arms Deal when Zuma was still an MEC in KZN. "There is no dispute as to how it [the case] started."

"They [NPA] should not work overzealously to get someone prosecuted," Zuma's lawyer says his client was left to hang dry.

Zuma's lawyers say it will quote cases in which prosdcutors properly dealt with the accused.

Meanwhile, BLF is in PMB to support Zuma.

"Mr Zuma's prosecution dates back to the 23rd of August 2003... We argue that from that day it starts to limp because different things are done... Of all the prosecutors that dealt with his matter, Mr Downer is the only prosecutor who has been consistent on how to deal with this case."

The opposing sides differ on what caused the delays in this case.

'Having set out what happened and how the prosecution team conducted itself, in our view, in a manner that is overzealous..."

Zuma's lawyer now moves to his next point. He says there are common causes in 'this story' that all agree happened. He adds that he will set out the principles that SA courts have set out that should guide that the case is treated with due circumspection.

Zuma's lawyers say he was trapped by certain people to say things in the Spy Tapes.

He says the NPA is biased and blind. "They do not ask the question 'what do I know about the person I am lynching'?"

Zuma's lawyers say the NPA has subscribed to mob justice. "It's bias."

"Does he get stripped of human dignity? Is there a way to deal with him in a particular way because he is Mr Zuma?.... Must he be dealt with less humanity? That is the philosophy that we want to tell this court.

'As we sit in coffee shops of Rosebank and leafy suburbs seeking approval of white friends, we may not know what he did', Zuma's lawyer says.

The lawyer says there is no need to describe how serious corruption is as it is known. 

Zuma's lawyers argue that this case is not without biases and the disliking of a person. He says the question that should be asked is that can someone accused of doing something outside the four corners of the Constitution because they have done something people don't like.

The most fundamental issue to consider is that the case is an intersection of law and politics, Zuma's lawyer says. He says we should discuss how true we are to the values of the Constitution. 

Zuma's lawyer says one of the issues the court faces is how each side differs on a number of previous cases. He wants to persuade the court that the legal philosophy it should adopt in trying the matter is the legal philosophy the state chooses to guide the case.

Zuma's lawyers begin. An argument has been raised in media about the conduct of some legal representatives, including Trengrove, which they say they won't dwell on but will speak on how the institution has conducted itself.

Earlier on, Duduzane Zuma arrived. A few days after his own court appearance in Randburg.

Judge Jerome Mnguni, Judge Jan Steyn and Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwati are presiding.

The legal representatives are now introducing themselves in this stay of prosecution application.

Court is officially now in session.

Former President Jacob Zuma is due to appear before the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday morning for an application for a permanent stay of prosecution from 16 charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering and money-laundering related to the controversial multi-billion rand arms deal concluded in the late 1990s.

WATCH LIVE: Former Pres Zuma, Thales appear before court, 20 May 2019