Former South Africa President Zuma must face trial, judges rule

Clay Curtis
October 11, 2019

The former South African president Jacob Zuma will stand trial on corruption charges relating to a $2.5bn arms deal after a high court denied him a permanent stay of prosecution on Friday.

It's uncertain how long the trial will last and when South Africans will have answers for a case that has been going on for nearly 15 years.

The ruling by Judge Jerome Mnguni in the Pietermaritzburg High Court paves way for Mr Zuma's trial to start on October 15.

"Zuma has said for a long time that he wants to have the opportunity appear in court, but at the same he also tried to delay his appearance".

The charges against Zuma were originally filed a decade ago but then set aside by the NPA shortly before he successfully ran for president in 2009.

"As a result of today's action, all property and interests in property of the individuals named above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by them, individually, or with other designated persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of USA persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC", said the statement issued by the US Treasury on Thursday.

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Thales said it was reviewing the judgement with its lawyers and would assess its legal options.

Zuma claimed past year that he was so broke that he had to sell his socks to raise legal fees, after another court ruled he should front the bills.

Zuma was forced to resign from office previous year over a separate corruption scandal centred around the Gupta business family, who won lucrative contracts with state companies and were allegedly even able to choose cabinet ministers.

The US Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced on Thursday that it had issued wide-ranging sanctions against Atul, Rajesh, Ajay Gupta and their business associate Salim Essa.

A few days later he pulled out of the inquiry, saying that he had been "treated as someone who was accused".

Zuma's successor as president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has vowed to tackle corruption in South Africa, which has been led by the ANC since Nelson Mandela came to power in 1994 after the end of apartheid.

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