The prosecuting lawyers in the case against the former president, Jacob Zuma, and his co-accused, the Thales company, have indicated that they have received the special plea that the former president had indicated when he appeared before the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday. The announcement was made by the National Prosecuting Authority spokesman in the so-called Arms Deal case on Thursday. They added that they received the plea on Wednesday at 23:00.
The prosecuting team revealed that the plea from the Zuma legal team indicated that the former president still insists that senior prosecutor, Billy Downer SC should not lead his prosecution. They also indicated that even though they have not studied the special plea thoroughly, indications were that his argument would center on the so-called spy tapes, issues which had been dealt with previously by courts. “State vs JG Zuma & Other (:) The legal team of accused 1 (Zuma) emailed the plea document to the NPA around 23:00 last night. We are studying the document and we will submit our response in court as expected. At face value, it looks like a regurgitation of the old false issues that have been previously rejected by the courts. However, the matter is now sub judice, we will deal with it extensively in court as required,” said Ngwema who is the spokesman for the prosecuting team.
This is in line with what JG Zuma was heard saying to his supporters on Monday when he briefly appeared before Judge Piet Koen. “This trial includes people who were conniving and gossiping with investigators, saying this one should be arrested… even those in charge of the law were saying that and there were also those who were insulting me… but right now they are in charge of the trial,” Zuma boasted as he addressed the group of people that had come to support him on the day. These include embattled ANC secretary-general, Ace Magashule, who has been suspended. In addition, there was also Tony Yengeni, who is a former member of the ANC youth league and a staunch Zuma supporter.
Zuma is facing charges of corruption and money laundering and is being represented by Advocate Thabani Masuku. Advocate Billy Downer is the one who successfully prosecuted businessman and close Zuma ally, Schabir Shaik.