Former South African president Jacob Zuma’s lawyers argued on Monday that Zuma has been treated unfairly in their application for a permanent stay of prosecution from corruption charges relating to a $2.2 billion arms deal.
Mr Zuma’s fight for a permanent stay of prosecution against him continues today. He had taken a swipe at the National Prosecuting Authority prosecutors for being ambitious to charge him.
Zuma, who made his fifth court appearance since the charges were reinstated, faces 16 charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a deal to buy 30 billion rand of European military hardware for South Africa’s armed forces, in the late 1990s.
The 77-year old Zuma, whose nine years in power were marked by economic stagnation and credit rating downgrades, has previously said he is the victim of a politically motivated witch-hunt.
SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA’S LAWYER, ADVOCATE MUZI SIKHAKHANE, SAYING:
“Everybody here and my learned friends on the other side want to lynch Mr Zuma to a prison cell. I am probably the only one in this room whose asked him this question, because I did, “Mr Zuma, are you corrupt?” It’s the first question I asked him when I met him,” Zuma’s lawyer, Muzi Sikhakhane said.
The charges against Zuma were originally filed a decade ago but then set aside by the National Prosecuting Authority shortly before he successfully ran for president in 2009.
After his election, his opponents fought a lengthy legal battle to have the charges reinstated, finally succeeding in 2016.
Zuma countered with his own legal challenges.
“We think the National Prosecuting Authority subscribes to in the manner in which they have dealt with Mr Zuma, I called it the mob justice. It’s driven and inspired by something all of us in this room have to varying degrees. It’s bias,” Muzi Sikhakhane said.
The case is a rare example of an African leader being held to account for his actions., but Zuma has denied any wrongdoing.