SAfrica: New delay in the Zuma/Thales trial

The corruption trial of former South African President Jacob Zuma, who is accused of taking bribes from the French defense group Thales more than 20 years ago, was postponed on Monday until August 2023.

This time, the new judge sitting in the Pietermaritzburg court (south-east) – the old one having recused himself in January – decided to give time to Mr. Zuma, who turned 81 last week, to prepare a new appeal.

Judge Nkosinathi Chili postponed the trial to August 15 to hear this new appeal by Mr. Zuma, who is seeking to have the chief prosecutor in the trial, Billy Downer, recused from the case, accusing him of bias and of leaking elements of the case to the press. The former head of state (2009-2018) is being prosecuted on 16 counts of fraud, corruption, and racketeering. Thales is also being prosecuted for corruption and money laundering.

The trial had begun in May 2021, after having already accumulated a monster delay due, in particular, to multiple appeals from the accused and postponements obtained by his lawyers citing health reasons.

A report on the unprecedented corruption under the Zuma presidency, so extensive that it has been dubbed “state capture” by South Africans, was made public last year by an ad hoc commission, highlighting the central role of the former head of state in the systematic looting of public funds.
During a hearing in July 2021, a prosecution lawyer, Wim Trengove, ironically described the trial as a battle of “Stalingrad, season 27”.

About Khalid Al Mouahidi 4410 Articles
Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network