Jacob Zuma has now turned to the Constitutional Court in a last-ditch attempt to escape charges of corruption against him for his alleged involvement in the controversial deal with arms manufacturer Thales.
Zuma is facing trial in Pietermaritzburg High Court on 16 counts of fraud, corruption and money laundering / robbery. Thales is charged with corruption and fraud. These charges stem from 783 individual transactions during the multimillion rand arms deal in the late 1990s.
Zuma says in his statement to the Constitutional Court on Tuesday that it is impossible to expect a fair hearing from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) because the case has been delayed for more than 15 years and because of the high degree of political interference.
He says the NPA has only made “irrational” and “illegal” decisions about its prosecution.
“It is in the interests of law and justice that leave for appeal be granted.”
He now wants to appeal against the refusal of his application that his prosecution be stopped permanently.
A full bench of judges has already denied Zuma’s application for leave to appeal against the decision at the end of last year. Earlier this year, the Court of Appeal upheld that finding. A similar application by Thales South Africa, a subsidiary of French arms manufacturer Thales, was also denied by a full bench of judges.
Adv. Billy Downer, a senior prosecutor, has filed an affidavit with the court making it clear that the NPA is opposed to the application.
“What public interest and justice now requires is that Zuma must be tried,” Downer said in his statement, which was also filed with the court on Wednesday.
He indicated that the state was ready to proceed with the case and appealed to the Constitutional Court to reject Zuma’s application.
According to Downer, Zuma does not have significant evidence to support his allegations.