Zuma trial: French arms company Thales intends to challenge racketeering charge

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Former South African President Jacob Zuma appears at the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
Former South African President Jacob Zuma appears at the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
KIM LUDBROOK / POOL / AFP
  • French arms company Thales says it intends challenging racketeering charges.
  • Representing the company, advocate Barry Roux said they are questioning whether the charges were competently instituted.
  • The company is accused of paying bribes to Zuma for political protection.

French arms company Thales' legal team says they will challenge racketeering charges brought against it in their criminal matter with co-accused former President Jacob Zuma, potentially delaying the trial further.

This was revealed in the KwaZulu-Natal High Coirt in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday when the matter for the company and Zuma was heard before Judge Kate Pillay.

Representing Thales, advocate Barry Roux made the declaration as dates for their postponement was discussed.

READ | Zuma corruption case adjourned to September, no trial date set yet

"We have the responsibility to put certain aspects before you. That is a mention of a racketeering application. It says we would issue that before 7 July. We will issue it long before then. It is 99% ready."

While not going into details, he said it dealt with charges related to racketeering.

"It deals with the specific part of the indictment on racketeering and whether it was competently instituted."

Pillay questioned if it had not been resolved already.

To this Roux replied: "We are pretty confident we will do it in the course of this month."

The review application could further delay the much-anticipated court matter that has hung in the air for 15 years.

The court also adjourned the corruption trial to September 8 so that documents between the various parties could be furnished.

A trial date has not been set yet, and the court will convene to determine if the case is trial ready at the next hearing in three months.

News24 previously reported that the Constitutional Court had dismissed their appeal for a stay of prosecution with costs, because "it lacks reasonable prospects of success".

Thales stands accused of offering Zuma a R500 000-a-year bribe in exchange for his political protection when he was deputy president. They are embroiled in the infamous R60-billion arms deal saga.

Zuma recently abandoned his Constitutional Court bid to prevent the case from proceeding. Thales persisted in a separate challenge, News24 reported.

The company sought direct access to the Constitutional Court, after the Pietermaritzburg High Court dismissed its application for a permanent stay of its corruption prosecution.

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