'Not genuine' - Judges rule on Jacob Zuma's bid to avoid prosecution

2019-11-29 13:37
Former President Jacob Zuma appears in the Durban High Court. (Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/POOL)

Former President Jacob Zuma appears in the Durban High Court. (Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/POOL)

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Three judges have found that there was no compelling reason why former president Jacob Zuma should be granted leave to appeal the dismissal of his bid for a permanent stay of prosecution.

"It is in the interest of justice and bringing the matter to finality that no appeal should ensue," read the ruling from Judges Jerome Mnguni, Esther Steyn and Thoba Poyo-Dlwati in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Friday.

The core of Zuma's application for a permanent stay of prosecution was his long-time allegation that, due to an unreasonable delay in the commencement of the proceedings, it won't be possible to receive a fair trial.

Speaking to the delays in the trial, the judgment said another court would not find differently if all factors were considered.

"We do not believe that another court, after properly considering judgment in context and in its totality, would find differently."

It said Zuma's submission, that the judges had overemphasised the seriousness of his alleged crimes, had no merit.

"The seriousness of the crime is but one of the factors to be considered in an application for a permanent stay. We therefore are not persuaded that another court, in particular the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), would come to a different conclusion."

Regarding Zuma's assertion that his rights were violated, the judges were not convinced.

"We do not agree. It is unlikely that the SCA will find differently…"

READ: Jacob Zuma says court was biased, files notice appealing permanent stay of prosecution ruling

The judgment also spoke to language used by Zuma's legal team earlier this month. They had accused the court of having violated some sections of the Criminal Procedure Act.

"In our view, comments or allegations that are scandalous or vexatious to the court ought to be avoided at all costs, as they can bring the administration of justice into disrepute."

Zuma was handed a costs order because his gripe was not legitimate, read the judgment.

"In our view, Mr Zuma's complaints were not genuine, hence a costs order. In any event, there was no compelling reason why the costs should not follow the result, the current application included. This issue was not raised in argument before us despite the State's argument for such an order."

Zuma is charged, along with French arms company Thales, on one count of racketeering, 12 of fraud, four of corruption and one of money laundering.

Thales' stay of prosecution application was also denied.

Previously, Thales senior counsel Anton Katz said the court had overlooked the argument that the National Prosecuting Authority used the incorrect legal provision to reinstate charges.

"We do not agree and, more importantly, the SCA has already pronounced on this issue. We do not believe therefore that… the decision could have been irrational or contrary to NPA policy. In the circumstances, we are not persuaded that another court would find differently," the judgment read.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  pietermaritzburg  |  courts  |  corruption
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