Former president Jacob Zuma has petitioned the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) for leave to appeal the dismissal of his permanent stay of prosecution application.
According to Business Day, Zuma has argued in court papers that he is being used as a “scapegoat” in the corruption case against him.
He also said the State should have investigated those who were closer to decision-making, including former president Thabo Mbeki.
The publication also reported that, in papers filed at the SCA in Bloemfontein, the former president maintained that he had nothing to do with the arms deal.
“I had no government position that would have made me a participant in the selection of bidders in this regard. It is not me that decided that the Special Investigating Unit not investigate certain matters in relation to the arms deal,” he was quoted as saying.
In November, the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg dismissed Zuma’s appeal against its decision to not grant a stay of prosecution, News24 previously reported.
But Zuma launched a bid to appeal the decision, arguing that the SCA could arrive at a different conclusion.
The core of Zuma’s stay application was his long-time allegation that, due to an unreasonable delay in the commencement of the proceedings, it won’t be possible to receive a fair trial, News24 previously reported.
Referring to the delays in the trial, the court said another court would not rule differently if all factors were considered.
“The seriousness of the crime is but one of the factors to be considered in an application for a permanent stay. We therefore are not persuaded that another court, in particular the Supreme Court of Appeal, would come to a different conclusion.”
Regarding Zuma’s assertion that his rights were violated, the judges were not convinced.
“We do not agree. It is unlikely that the SCA will find differently…”
Zuma’s gripe not legitimate
The judgment also referred to comments Zuma’s legal team made earlier this month.
They had accused the court of having violated some sections of the Criminal Procedure Act.
“In our view, comments or allegations that are scandalous or vexatious to the court ought to be avoided at all costs, as they can bring the administration of justice into disrepute.”
Zuma was handed a costs order because his gripe was not legitimate, read the judgment.
Zuma is charged, along with French arms company Thales, with one count of racketeering, 12 of fraud, four of corruption and one of money laundering.
Thales’ stay of prosecution application was also denied.
Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering, relating to the arms deal.
It is alleged that he received 783 payments, totalling just over R4m, from his then-financial adviser Schabir Shaik and his Nkobi group of companies between 1996 and 2005.
– Compiled by Jeanette Chabalala, additional reporting by Kaveel Singh