- Former president Jacob Zuma is preparing to launch a review into the NPA’s decision to reinstate criminal charges against him
- Legal expert Paul Hoffman says this tactic one simple aim: to delay the process for as long as possible
- Hoffman says Zuma who is 75 could delay proceedings for until his death
Former president Jacob Zuma is preparing to launch a review into the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) decision to reinstate criminal charges against him, which are related to the much-maligned arms deal.
Zuma’s lawyer, Michael Hulley said he was preparing an application to review the NPA’s decision to prosecute Zuma and French arms manufacturer Thint. Zuma faces 16 charges of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering.
This delay tactic has become Zuma and Hulley’s modus operandi in recent years. One of the reasons Zuma can and does try to delay court proceedings against him is a virtually unlimited amount of money for his legal fees.
Briefly.co.za gathered that all Zuma’s legal fees are paid for by the government. Zuma reached an agreement with then-president Thabo Mbeki, which guaranteed the government would pay all his legal bills as long as he was not found guilty of criminal charges in his personal capacity.
If Zuma were found guilty of committing crimes in his personal capacity he would be forced to refund the state, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa the amount spent currently sits at more than R15 million.
Legal expert Paul Hoffman says the latest application by Zuma to review the NPA’s decision has one simple aim: to delay the legal process for as long as possible.
“Zuma is 75 years old, and if he delays it long enough he will be dead before he gets to trial. That is the benefit of the delay," he said.
Hoffman said Zuma had two options to delay charges from reaching the trial stage.
The first one would be to challenge NPA boss Shaun Abrahams’ decision to announce Zuma’s prosecution during a media briefing.
“They feel that to make an announcement during a press conference was not an accurate way of dealing with the representation that had been made. The first step would be to ask that the criminal summons be put on hold until the end of the civil case over whether or not the decision by Abrahams is reviewable,” he said
If this tactic fails the second option would be to have the court grant Zuma a permanent stay of prosecution, this according to Hoffman, could take a couple of years to finalise.
Constitutional law scholar Pierre de Vos says its unlikely Zuma’s defence could successfully challenge the summons.
“If they do, it would be misguided, unethical and an abuse of the legal process because they cannot review a decision which the court has already taken a stance on," he said.
De Vos said the Supreme Court of Appeals had already said the case must go to court. He said a more reasonable avenue would be for Zuma to ask for a permanent stay of prosecution by arguing that he would never receive a fair trial.
De Vos said if a person had unlimited resources they could delay court proceedings for years by launching frivolous challenges, he said if you had all the money in the world you could just launch application after application.
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