Jacob Zuma is preparing himself for his second appearance in court this year, as he and his legitimate group go up against the extortion and debasement accusations brought against him.
The ex president will be back in the dock on Monday 21 May. The defence are preparing to make their representations against the decision to seek a prosecution by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). They fundamentally disagree with the decision to reinstate the “spy tape” charges.
Why is Jacob Zuma on trial?
Zuma is in the dock for 16 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering, relating to an illicit arms deal that began negotiations in the late 1990s.
The ex-Head of State’s business partner, Schabir Shaikh, became a valuable asset to Zuma as his political influence grew. Shaik became a notable figure when he first met Jacob Zuma in 1990. Their friendship eventually developed into a mutually-beneficial financial partnership.
They attempted to negotiate an arms deal between the European-based Thompson CSF and South Africa. It was littered with corrupt practice, and dodgy deals behind the scenes though. Who’d have thought it, right?
Why has it taken 20 years to get here?
The case has been kicked around like a legal football. It has been in and out of court, but JZ has massively ridden his luck with this.
When he was caught on tape talking about the illegal details of the deal, it could have been an open and shut case. Instead, Thabo Mbeki – the president at the time who was looking to stave off the threat of Zuma’s leadership bid – was accused of trying set his rival up and use the evidence for his own political gain.
The matter was eventually dismissed in April 2009, as Zuma assumed the presidency. It would take a further nine years for the NPA to reverse their decision regarding these charges.