Trengove: Zuma flourished during time of delayed prosecution

Jacob Zuma is facing charges that include fraud, corruption and racketeering. Picture: Themba Hadebe/Reuters
Jacob Zuma is facing charges that include fraud, corruption and racketeering. Picture: Themba Hadebe/Reuters

Three arguments by the state:

• Zuma suffered reputational damage because of his association with his former adviser Schabir Shaik

• Zuma flourished: He remained deputy president and even later successfully challenged Thabo Mbeki for the presidency

• His career only took a knock when Shaik was found guilty and convicted to 15 years on charges Zuma was arguably an accomplice to

Let us not forget that former president Jacob Zuma’s career actually flourished while he lived under the cloud of this pending prosecution.

This was the argument brought forward by advocate Wim Trengove in the Pietermaritzburg division of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court on Thursday.

He said that the court not be misled by Zuma’s legal team’s argument on Monday in which they argued that the former president’s rights were violated and he suffered greater reputational harm.

“It appears that there has not been any greater reputational harm that Zuma has suffered because of the delay in prosecution. Whatever harm he suffered was as a product of the prosecution of [his former adviser Shabir] Shaik and Zuma’s association with him.”

“He remained deputy president and even later successfully challenged then ANC president Thabo Mbeki to emerge as the head of state. His career only took a knock when his onetime financial adviser Schabir Shaik was found guilty and convicted to 15 years on charges Zuma was arguably an accomplice to,” Trengove said.

He added that whatever harm Zuma had since suffered was not as a result of the delay of his prosecution by the NPA but arguably by his association with the convicted Shaik.

Seeking a permanent stay of prosecution, Zuma’s legal team had on Monday made submissions that there had been “undue delays on the trial” to the point that both accused did not foresee any fair trial being afforded to them.

Zuma’s senior counsel Muzi Sikhakhane also argued that the conduct of the NPA had left his client without a shadow of a doubt that his prosecution was politically motivated and caused great reputational harm.

Zuma faces accusations of unduly receiving R1.2-million from Shaik while he was then deputy president of the country, over a period of seven years.

The state has argued that the idea was to induce Zuma to use his political influence to protect Shaik’s business interests. Shaik was also accused of attempting to secure an annual bribe of R500 000 for Zuma from his co-accused French arms company, Thales.

To the surprise of many at the time, Zuma was not indicted alongside Shaik. And, 15 years later, he is yet to go to trial. Instead, his legal team is requesting a permanent stay of prosecution, saying the lengthy delays had irredeemably affected the possibility of a fair trial.


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July 2020

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