South African former president Jacob Zuma’s corruption and money laundering trial which kicked off on Monday at the Pietermaritzburg High Court was adjourned to May 26.
Judge Piet Koen said the postponement was to allow Zuma’s legal team to bring a plea application. Zuma’s legal team would also be asking the lead prosecutor Billy Downer to recuse himself from the trial. “An affidavit would be filed on behalf of the first accused (Zuma),” Judge Koen said.
Zuma’s legal representative advocate Thabani Masuku said despite the application to be made, his client was ready to proceed with the trial.”Mr. Zuma is ready. It shouldn’t be regarded that the plea we are about to raise is a sign that we are not ready,” he said.
Zuma was present in court during the short proceedings. He was supported by the suspended African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Ace Magashule and other party members.
The Zuma and French manufacturer Thales trial relate to the purchase of the arms deal in 1999. Zuma is accused of accepting bribes from Thales while an investigation into the arms deal was underway.