NEWS
06/06/2018 07:33 SAST | Updated 06/06/2018 07:33 SAST

Abrahams Will Not Stay Zuma's Prosecution, But That Doesn't Mean Zuma Will Face Trial, Yet

While Shaun Abrahams has declined to stay Zuma's prosecution until issues around his legal fees are resolved, this doesn't mean that the trial will go ahead in November.

NPA boss Shaun Abrahams.
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NPA boss Shaun Abrahams.

Former president Jacob Zuma's prosecution will go ahead, in spite of his attempts to get the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to hold off until issues around his legal funding can be resolved. But this does not mean the trial will proceed, because in all likelihood, Zuma will request a postponement when he appears in court again on Friday.

On Tuesday, National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Shaun Abrahams declined a request by Zuma to have his prosecution stayed until issues around his legal fees have been resolved.

According to News24, Abrahams told Zuma that he could not accede to his request, as the matter should be decided in court. This means that, on Friday, Zuma will have to request a postponement if he wants more time to sort out his legal funding.

There is a question mark over who will represent Zuma in court since the DA launched court proceedings in March, challenging a 2006 agreement that the state would fund Zuma's legal defence unless he is found guilty.

Zuma's lawyer Michael Hulley previously told News24 that he had to cancel counsel's briefs because of the uncertainty.

KwaZulu-Natal Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Moipone Noko, who is in charge of the Zuma prosecution, told Eyewitness News (EWN) that the prosecution is ready for trial, but whether or not it proceeds depends on Zuma.

"We can go on trial on 12 November but, obviously, that depends on whether some applications are brought or whatever that can derail us from that plan," she said.

Mfaku told Power FM on Tuesday that there was no time limit on how long it could take before the trial proceeds, should Zuma be granted a postponement. He reportedly said that the state had completed its investigation and there were no outstanding issues, and that the prosecutor on the case, Advocate Billy Downer had indicated that his diary was free in November for the case to go ahead.

But it is standard procedure for the court to grant postponements to give accused persons a chance to arrange legal representation, he explained.