Zuma’s defence lawyers quit less than a month before his corruption trial starts

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Former president Jacob Zuma is seen inside the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
Former president Jacob Zuma is seen inside the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
Gallo Images/Thulie Dlamini

Former President Jacob Zuma's defence lawyers have told the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg that they are no longer representing him – less than a month before his corruption trial is due to start.

Mabuza Attorneys filed a formal notice of withdrawal as Zuma's attorneys of record at the High Court on Wednesday morning. Attorney Eric Mabuza declined to provide reasons for the withdrawal, which has resulted in the effective resignation of Zuma's entire legal team, including advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, from his corruption trial.

READ | Jacob Zuma loses state legal fees appeal bid, must pay back millions

The withdrawal comes a week after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed Zuma's challenge to a ruling of the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, which found that he was not entitled to state funding for his corruption trial legal costs and ordered him to pay back an estimated R25 million in taxpayers' money that was already spent on the costs of the trial.

The former president is due to go on trial for arms deal-related corruption on 17 May.

He faces charges that relate to millions in payments and benefits from his former financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, allegedly in exchange for furthering Shaik’s business interests.

He also stands accused of accepting a bribe of R500 000 a year in exchange for his protection from any potential inquiry into the arms deal.

This is a developing story.

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