While former president Jacob Zuma filed a 300-page affidavit, asking for a permanent stay of prosecution, the National Prosecuting Authority believes that there is a strong case against him.
In his answering affidavit, Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions advocate Billy Downer SC requested the KwaZulu-Natal High Court to dismiss Zuma’s request. The reasoning behind Zuma’s request for the case to be dismissed is that he should have been charged together with Schabir Shaik, Nkobi group and Thomson.
The fact that they have been tried already and this case are linked to theirs is why he feels there is and should not be any case against him.
The South African legal system and courts messed up at the time that is for certain. The entire country knew Zuma was a corrupt president, but due to the position he held, he went free. This time around he, Zuma claims that the NPA has acted unlawfully, unconstitutionally and in a partisan manner in relation to his prosecution.
Senior advocate Billy Downer is currently leading the State’s case against Zuma.
He is a veteran prosecutor who successfully prosecuted Shaik and former Western Cape top cop Arno Lamoer.
He led the NPA investigation into the arms deal since the early 2000s and prosecuted Shaik, Zuma’s former financial adviser, between 2004 and 2006 and thus the perfect prosecutor for the Zuma case.
According to Downer their admissibility against Zuma was uncertain at that stage
“Conversely, had Ngcuka decided to prosecute Zuma, having concluded as he did that there were no reasonable prospects of success, such a prosecution would have been impermissible and malicious,” he said.
“Ngcuka simply could not have prosecuted Zuma on this basis, whether or not Zuma thinks that he should have been prosecuted then.
“This contention is unfounded because the prospects of a successful prosecution of Shaik, Nkobi and Thomson and Zuma respectively, depended on the available evidence, the admissibility, relevance and strength of which against each of them differed.”
Downer also said that Zuma’s right to a fair trial did not entitle him to demand a trial “designed and structured so as to serve his best advantage”.
During Zuma’s last appearance in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on November 30, 2018, Deputy Judge Mjabuliseni Madondo ordered that the permanent stay of prosecution arguments, together with criminal proceedings be heard on May 20.
The arms company, Thales, which is implicated with Zuma, also filed its application in the High Court to have the prosecution permanently set aside.
It claimed that it had been denied a fair trial because of unreasonable delays, and that its right to present and challenge evidence had also been denied.
The embattled former president faces serious charges, including one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering, and 12 counts of fraud relating to 783 payments he allegedly received in connection with the controversial arms deal.
The arms deal was formally known as the Strategic Defence Procurement Package.
It was a multibillion-rand military acquisition project finalised in 1999.
But Downer said in his affidavit: “I deny Zuma’s allegations that his prosecution is politically motivated. I deny the NPA lacks prosecutorial independence and has not pursued Zuma’s prosecution in a constitutionally compliant way.
“I deny Zuma’s ‘background, status and role in society as a political leader and a public figure’ are relevant to the issues in dispute in this matter.”