Former president Jacob Zuma’s long-awaited court appearance on fraud and corruption charges took all of 20 minutes.
The former president appeared in the Durban High Court this morning on one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud.
Christine Guerrier, vice-president of dispute resolution and litigation for Thales, France, represented the company as Zuma’s co-accused.
The arms manufacturer is facing two charges.
Zuma’s charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering, originate from 783 questionable payments he received related to the multibillion-rand “arms deal”.
The arms deal, formally known as the Strategic Defence Package, was a multibillion-rand military acquisition project finalised in 1999.
Experts believe it could potentially be the biggest corruption scandal in the country’s history, with millions of rands of public money lost to bribery and other irregularities.
Advocate Billy Downer, SC, who was leading the case for State, asked the court to postpone the matter to June 8. He said the state was ready to continue with trial.
Downer is the advocate who successfully prosecuted fraudster Schabir Shaik and former Western Cape top cop Arno Lamoer.
All legal representatives agreed to the adjournment.
The state reckoned it could provisionally be ready for trial on November 12.
Zuma’s advocate Hoosen Gani agreed to the June 8 adjournment, however he added that he was not in any agreement to the suggested enrolment of the trial to start on November 12.
Zuma wants to bring a review application in terms of National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams’s decision to reinstate charges against him after it was withdrawn, and was expected to file his review application on May 15.
People who came out to support Zuma in court include ANC Youth League leaders Andile Lungisa and Thanduxolo Sabelo, Premier Willies Mchunu, ANC KwaZulu-Natal leaders Sihle Zikalala and Super Zuma, eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, former communications minister Faith Muthambi, former minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs Des van Rooyen and controversial, former SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
The State vs Jacob Zuma in numbers
9. The number of years the Democratic Alliance fought for the case to get to court. Zuma’s charges were withdrawn in the High Court in Durban on April 7 2009, just before he was sworn in for his first term as South Africa’s president.
10. The millions it’s taken in litigation costs to get Zuma to have his day in court.
783. The number of irregular payments Zuma is said to have received.
16. The number of charges the former president is facing.
2. The number of charges that Zuma’s co-accused, arms deal manufacturer Thales, is facing.
207. The number of witnesses on the State’s list.