Five key court cases holding South Africa in their grip

2018-06-22 19:18
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2018-06-08 15:13

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Whether it's former President Jacob Zuma in the dock or the freedom to legally smoke dagga in the home, South Africans have been held captive by several key cases in recent months.

While the matters are still pending before the country's courts, News24's Jeanette Chabalala sums up the issues that Lady Justice has put centre stage. 

Here are the five cases you should know about: 

1. Former president Jacob Zuma's corruption case

Zuma's case is now before the courts but at the pace the case is proceeding, it is unlikely that the trial will start soon. 

Zuma made his second appearance in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban on June 8 on corruption-related charges.

However, his legal representative, Michael Hulley, also told the court that they were waiting for a response from the Presidency regarding the payment of Zuma's legal fees and would therefore require a postponement. The case was postponed to July 27. 

READ: WRAP:From Number 1 to Accused No 1


2. Shaun Abrahams' future hangs in the balance 

The Constitutional Court is yet to rule in a matter involving former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Mxolisi Nxasana and incumbent head Shaun Abrahams, whose future hangs in the balance.

The court would have to confirm two declaratory orders of constitutional invalidity, made by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on December 8, 2017. 

The High Court declared former president Jacob Zuma's conduct as unconstitutional when he terminated Nxasana's appointment as the then National Director of Public Prosecutions. Nxasana accepted a golden handshake of R17.3m from Zuma after a breakdown in their relationship. 

Nxasana informed Zuma about how his subordinates were undermining him, but Zuma did not assist him, the court heard.

It was also revealed that Nxasana did not want to resign from his position, but circumstances eventually pushed him to. 


3. Gupta linked individuals and companies to appear in court in August 

The eight people arrested during Hawks raids on various Gupta compounds earlier this year will appear in the Bloemfontein Regional Court again in August.

The suspects were arrested in connection with investigations into the Free State Vrede dairy farm project.

They are Estina director Kamal Vasram, former directors at the Guptas' holding company Oakbay - Varun Gupta, Ronica Ragavan, Nazeem Howa and Ashu Chawla - and Free State officials Peter Thabethe, Sylvia Dlamini and Takisi Masiteng.

An affidavit revealed that the Free State's agriculture department - which was then under the leadership of former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane - allegedly paid R220m to the Guptas and some of their associates in what the Asset Forfeiture Unit called a "scheme designed to defraud and steal monies from the department".

One hundred black emerging farmers were promised five cows each as part of the empowerment scheme, but they never received them.

Gifted to the Gupta-linked Estina in 2013 under a free 99-year lease by the provincial agriculture department, the farm has been one of the most scandalous transactions between the Guptas and a government entity.

The #GuptaLeaks revealed in 2017 how at least R30m paid to the Guptas, via the farm, ended up funding the family's lavish Sun City wedding in 2013.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Ajay Gupta now a fugitive from the law - Hawks


4. Grace Mugabe immunity saga 

Did former Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoane-Mashabane act unconstitutionally when she granted former Zimbabwean first lady, Grace Mugabe, diplomatic immunity?

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria is yet to rule on the matter. Lobby group AfriForum has lodged a court application against the decision by Nkoane-Mashabane to grant diplomatic immunity to Mugabe.

The case relates to an incident that happened in 2017, when the 52-year-old wife of former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe allegedly beat up model Gabriella Engels at a Johannesburg hotel, where her two sons had been staying. 


5. ConCourt case on freedom to use Marijuana without being victimised

In November last year, the highest court in the country heard an application which called for the legalisation of the use, cultivation and distribution of marijuana. The court had given the so-called "dagga couple", Myrtle Clarke and Julian Stobbs, leave to intervene in the case. 

They have been in and out of the North Gauteng High Court in their attempt to secure the legalisation of dagga.

Rastafarian activist Garreth Prince was on colourful display before the justices of the Constitutional Court last year as he argued for his right to smoke marijuana in public. Prince said he just wanted the freedom to use marijuana without being victimised.

Earlier in 2017, the Western Cape High Court ruled that the cultivation and private use of dagga should be legalised. However, this applied to home use only. The Constitutional Court is yet to deliver its verdict on the matter.

Read more on:    shaun abrahams  |  jacob zuma  |  grace mugabe  |  gupta family  |  politics  |  courts

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