Zuma's fraud trial postponed for 'inquiry' into his failure to appear in February

Former president Jacob Zuma in the dock.
Former president Jacob Zuma in the dock.

Former president Jacob Zuma's fraud and corruption case before the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg has been postponed to 23 June to allow for an inquiry into his failure to appear in court in February, according to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Zuma faces 16 charges, including racketeering, fraud, corruption and money laundering, while Thales faces two counts.

The case was due to resume on Wednesday.

But in statement released on Wednesday morning, the NPA said all parties had "committed to the provisional postponement of the matter".

The prosecution said the case was postponed for the "continuation of pre-trial management".

Another reason for the postponement was for Thales' application to the Constitutional Court.

The arms company approached the apex court for leave to appeal the High Court's decision to dismiss its stay of prosecution application.

A third reason for the postponement was for "an inquiry in terms of Section 170 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Act, No 51 of 1977 regarding Accused 1's (Zuma's) failure to appear at the hearing on 4 February 2020", the NPA said.

The court issued a stayed warrant of arrest for the former president after he failed to appear.

At the time, Zuma's lawyers claimed he was ill and was receiving treatment abroad.

The execution of the warrant of arrest was stayed until 23 June, said the authority.

Zuma withdraws stay of prosecution bid

In April, Zuma's foundation announced that he had withdrawn his application to the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the dismissal of his stay of prosecution application.

He said he was preparing to "demonstrate that he has never benefited from any arms deal corruption or tried to evade the trial".

READ | Zuma withdraws stay of prosecution appeal bid - now he can prepare for his day in court

The state alleges that Zuma received more than 780 payments, totalling just over R4 million, from his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik and his Nkobi group of companies over a nine-year period, starting in 1996.

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