AS IT HAPPENED: Zuma addresses crowd of supporters after judgment reserved in bid for permanent stay of prosecution - #ZumaTrial

2019-05-24 12:30

Former president Jacob Zuma's latest legal battle - an application seeking a permanent stay of prosecution - has wrapped up in the KZN High Court in Pietermaritzburg, and judgment in the matter has been reserved.


(Courtesy of SABC) 

Former president Jacob Zuma in court

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Last Updated at 10:34
24 May 13:44

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24 May 11:59

And with that, proceedings wrap up. 

Judgment is reserved. Should be out in three months.

Zuma is expected to address his supporters, who have been slowly gathering outside the court building.

24 May 11:47

Court adjourns while the judges decide on the application by Sikhakhane, for Zuma, to present new evidence.

24 May 11:43

Trengove now points out that the letter in question was most likely obtained "unlawfully" - as it was either leaked by the Hawks or someone at the NPA.

Trengove adds: The letter speaks of allegations by Mr Sooklal in relation to the prosecution of Thint. It does not mention Mr Zuma at all. 

The letter is entirely irrelevant. The letter further quotes parts of a 2016 Sooklal affidavit which was filed in litigation Zuma was part of. 

The Zuma camp has been in possession of the underlying Sooklal affidavit since November 2016. 

For them to apply at the 11th hour, at the day of death, on the last day of arguments, is not justifiable.

Trengove: "We ask for the application to be dismissed."

24 May 11:38

NOTE: The letter, which News24 has seen, speaks of a request for an investigation from Advocate Shaun Abrahams to former Hawks head Yolisa Matakata, into claims of bribes, involving former justice minister Penuell Maduna, who Zuma previously accused of trying to bribe him to leave politics.

 - News24 reporter Kyle Cowan

24 May 11:36

Trengove, for the State, points out case law which states that in application proceedings, discovery (the sharing of evidence) should only happen in very exceptional circumstances. 

Trengove says this letter is a so-called "work product" part of an ongoing investigation, and as such it is not discoverable. 

24 May 11:35

Mnguni asks Katz if he has had sight of the documents. "It's not clear to me, even though my client is implicated in this matter, I would not wish to make any submissions now. I can say, now in 2019, we know of no such investigation and we have not been charged with any crimes seemingly mentioned in the letter."

24 May 11:34

Poyo-Dlwati asks questions. This document seems to be an investigation by the NPA. It seems the NPA is still investigating, that they know there was political meddling? 

Sikhakhane: I am saying, they have told this court there is no political meddling. But they are still investigating this point. 

24 May 11:32

Mnguni makes the point that this document seems to relate to another document (it speaks of a 2016 affidavit from Ajay Sooklaal).

Sikhakhane reiterates, he has argued there was political meddling. The issue of political meddling and interference, is not finalised.

Sikhakhane: I am alerting the court now. Next week, we may get a document again... 

24 May 11:30

Mnguni now asks Sikhakhane to explain the relevance of the letter he is attempting to hand up. 

We have argued there is a political meddling. There was a point made in court that Maduna's involvement was limited to a meeting in 2003. 

So when we find a document that shows the same people who told us his role is limited, are investigating his role as a minister, it becomes relevant. 

24 May 11:25

Court is back in session.

24 May 11:16

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24 May 10:55

Katz rounds off his argument and the bench calls for a short adjournment.

Back in 15 minutes, where the court will deal with the application to introduce new evidence.

24 May 10:49

Katz continues laying out a very technical argument in front of the bench. "On the basis of all the evidence...Thales is entitled to prayers one, two and three."

24 May 10:43

Katz: If this court comes to the conclusion that my submission over Naidu is wrong, then when I get to trial court, I will tell that court...

He is interrupted by Steyn and Mnguni. Steyn: "You can double-cross that bridge when you come to it." 

Katz: We submit it's not just and equitable (to send us to trial first, only to be told to go back to this court to decide). 

24 May 10:41

Katz is arguing a point about a judgment that both Judges Steyn and Mnguni wrote, on a previous application for stay of prosecution, called the Naidu judgment. 

It's bold - he is arguing that the court should look at the precedent set by a ruling by two judges he is now arguing before. 

Earlier, Judge Poyo-Dlwati quipped that she was not sitting on the full bench during that judgment. "So they may be wrong," she joked, drawing laughter from her colleagues on the bench and the advocates seated before them. 

24 May 10:36

Judge Steyn says Katz should not interpret Section 342 (A) so narrowly as to say that a trial court will not be able to deal with the prejudice Thales says it will suffer at trial, and what it has suffered already.

24 May 10:35

Katz: We don't complain about what happened after March 2018. We complain about what happened before March 2018.

Katz says he will have no protection in a trial court. "Where is our protection? It is here, and now, in this court. What you cannot do, with respect, is send us to a trial court that will not have powers to deal with this." 

24 May 10:20

Katz is now pushing back on the State's arguments that Thales and Zuma were also responsible for the delays in the case. 

"In determining the culpability of Thales in this period, after 2006 until the Constitutional Court dealt with the matter, it was the first time pre-trial litigation over search warrants were dealt with."

24 May 10:19

24 May 10:19

Zuma is sitting in a relaxed manner in his chair, his one arm up, leaning back. He was jovial this morning, greeting photographers and reporters who sidled up for a quick snap of him. Today, he seems to be keeping a close eye on the judges.

 - News24 reporter Kyle Cowan

24 May 10:15

NOTE: The arguments by Katz are still seeking to create this impression that Thales should be separate from Zuma. 

It speaks to his previous arguments that Thales was only re-charged in 2018 with Zuma as an 'add-on'. 

He argues Abrahams was supposed to make a 'new' decision on Thales, which means Abrahams was supposed to consider all the evidence anew, and then decide. 

Thales is arguing he didn't do that. Katz is pushing that argument a little further. He is saying that Abrahams did not do that, and he relied on the wrong sections of the NPA Act to exercise his authority to charge Thales. 

Essentially, Katz wants the court to find that Abrahams and the NPA acted unlawfully. It's a bold argument, and will no doubt be grounds the court will consider when it decides whether or not to grant a permanent stay of prosecution. 

The so-called 'high water mark' for a permanent stay is called 'high' for a reason. Courts do not consider granting permanent stays unless the evidence really stacks up, and shows how an accused person has been wronged.

 - News24 reporter Kyle Cowan 

24 May 10:01

24 May 09:57

Judge Steyn interrupts Katz - she wants to know how an unlawful decision to withdraw prosecution impacts on the decision to reinstate the charges later. 

Katz says he will deal with this question in his reply. 

"Thales had no role at all in the bad faith litigation, that had nothing to do with Thales," Katz says.

"There is a suggestion that Thales was an incidental beneficiary of the NPA's conduct. We turn that around, and say Thales was the victim," Katz says, referring to the decision by Mpshe to withdraw charges, which the courts later declared unlawful.

Judge Poyo-Dlwati interrupts: "We have dealt with this issue..." She asks if the court's finding that Mpshe's decision was unlawful is not a special reason that speaks to why the charges were reinstated.

24 May 09:52

So we will proceed with Advocate Anton Katz SC, for Thales, who will give his reply to arguments, while Sikhakhane considers the State's reply to his application to introduce the letter.

Katz is up. "We have listened to our friends Mr Trengove and Mr Breitenbach, and we submit those legal principles when applied to the facts, entitle us to prayers one, two and three [the permanent stay of prosecution prayers]." 

24 May 09:47

Court is in session. 

Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane for Zuma hands up an application to introduce the new evidence, and the State, represented by Advocate Wim Trengove, hands up responding papers in opposition to the application. They were burning the midnight oil it seems. 

24 May 09:39

JUST IN: 'Dead' former Thales boss and Zuma trial witness Alain Thétard found alive in Europe 

Even though former president Jacob Zuma's legal team told the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg this week that a key witness and co-conspirator in the alleged corruption that led to him being charged was dead, investigators have found him in Europe.

Alain Thétard, controversial former head of Thales South Africa and author of the infamous encrypted fax, has been traced, News24 has confirmed.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) received confirmation of his whereabouts after it submitted its court papers on March 11.

In court documents and in oral arguments this week in Zuma's and Thales' applications for a permanent stay of prosecution, the court heard from the Zuma team that Thétard was deceased. 

24 May 09:36

The application to have this letter introduced will be heard this morning, News24 has been told, and thereafter, the only business that remains to be concluded is the replying argument from Advocate Anton Katz SC, for Thales.

24 May 09:35

Former president Jacob Zuma is back in court. Proceedings were due to start at 09:00, but the lawyers have been in and out, having discussions in a room outside court. 

This morning, the court is expected to hear an application by Zuma's legal team to have a March 2018 letter from former NDPP Shaun Abrahams to the Hawks introduced as evidence.

In the letter, Abrahams asks the former Hawks head Yolisa Matakata to investigate explosive claims of bribes involving former justice minister Penuell Maduna and the ANC, News24 understands. 

24 May 09:25

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24 May 08:49

24 May 08:48

24 May 08:48

24 May 08:48


Mbeki, Maduna and the bribes probe: Late drama in Zuma case 

A mysterious letter, believed to be correspondence between the National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks, surfaced late on Thursday at the ongoing application for a permanent stay of prosecution by former president Jacob Zuma.

At the 11th hour on Thursday, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane who is representing Zuma, in his reply to the State's arguments against the applications by Zuma and his co-accused, French company Thales, attempted to introduce a letter to the proceedings.

Five minutes before the close of the day's proceedings, Sikhakhane told a full bench of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg that he wished to read a letter into the record that spoke of an investigation the NPA was inquiring about in March 2018. 

24 May 08:48


Conspiracy theories aside, the case against Mr Zuma is very strong - State 

The reason for the decision to prosecute former president Jacob Zuma for racketeering, money laundering, fraud and corruption, does not matter, even if it is politically motivated.

This is one of the arguments advocate Wim Trengove, SC, is expected to put to the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday when he argues against Zuma's application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

Trengove is expected to point out to the court that the case against Zuma is very strong and that evidence exists to prove his guilt. 

24 May 08:48


Fire and fury from the bench as Thales tries to create distance between itself and Zuma 

Arms company Thales has tried to distance itself from former president Jacob Zuma, as both parties seek a permanent stay of prosecution on charges relating to the now-infamous Arms Deal.

But this angle from Thales' lawyers on Tuesday sparked a volley of questions from a full bench in the Kwazulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

Zuma is accused of taking bribes from Thales (then Thomson CSF) during the Arms Deal in the late 1990’s. Zuma and Thales have filed applications for a permanent stay of prosecution. 

24 May 08:48


Apartheid laws and conspiracies: 'You can't conspire to charge an innocent citizen like Zuma' 

Former president Jacob Zuma on Monday took a swipe at the National Prosecuting Authority, saying prosecutors had been "ambitious" to charge him.

He told a group of supporters gathered outside the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg, who waited for hours to hear him speak, that the case against him was 15 years old, and he did not understand why it was still being pursued.

He compared the actions of prosecutors to Apartheid-era justice – echoing his lawyer advocate Muzi Sikhakhane SC, who also drew parallels between Zuma's corruption case and Apartheid laws.

24 May 08:48


There is a witch hunt against me, Zuma tells supporters outside court 

Former President Jacob Zuma has labelled the corruption trial against him a politically-motivated witch hunt and says his lawyers will show the court how the NPA conspired to prevent him from becoming president.

"Those who were meant to be witnesses have even forgotten their testimony. Some have died," he told supporters in isiZulu outside the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

"We are now arguing that if this trial continues, it's just a witch hunt. We can’t have a trial based on this. We argue this trial is not fresh and witnesses have died and the presiding judges have retired." 

24 May 08:48


'Spy tapes' rehashed: Zuma is the victim here, says lawyer 

During then-president Jacob Zuma and French arms dealer Thales' application for a permanent stay of prosecution on Monday, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane SC turned to transcripts of the Spy Tapes to illustrate that Zuma was victimised.

Sikhakhane's aim in reading sections of the Spy Tapes into the record was two-fold: "I want to show the disdain with which they discuss Mr Zuma," he told the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

He also used this as his hammer to drive home the sharp wedge of his argument – that the National Prosecuting Authority acted "unconstitutionally" in the way it handled Zuma and the corruption charges against him.

24 May 08:48


Zuma should have been charged in 2005 with Shaik - defence 

The KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg heard on Monday morning that former president Jacob Zuma should have been charged in 2005 alongside his financial advisor Schabir Shaik. 

This was argued by Zuma’s own lawyer, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane SC, who is trying to persuade the court to grant an application for a permanent stay of prosecution. The matter is being heard by a full bench, consisting of Judges Bhekisisa Mnguni, Tholo Poyo-Dlwati and Esther Steyn.

Zuma and French arms company Thales are facing charges of fraud, money laundering, corruption and racketeering for a series of alleged bribes paid to Zuma through Shaik, during the multibillion-rand arms deal in the late 1990s. Shaik was found guilty of fraud and corruption in June 2005 for irregularities surrounding the same matter, and sentenced to an effective 15 years behind bars. 

24 May 08:48


Jacob Zuma's last gasp? What you need to know about the former president's latest legal tussle 

Former President Jacob Zuma will this week take the plunge in what will likely be his final opportunity to dodge a series of corruption charges he has successfully side-stepped for more than a decade.

Zuma is set to appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for four days this week when a full bench will hear his application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

If Zuma is successful he will be immune from these charges, which relate to alleged bribes paid to him by French arms company Thales – one of the successful contractors in the multi-billion rand Arms Deal. 

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