The NPA says it is ready to proceed with the corruption trial of former President Jacob Zuma, but he is likely to seek to appeal against the dismissal of his permanent stay of prosecution, partly because he apparently cannot afford to go on trial, says a Business Day report.

It points out that Zuma’s previously unfettered state funding of his legal costs enabled him to launch multiple challenges to his prosecution, which he has repeatedly slammed as politically motivated and a violation of his rights to a fair trial.

However, with that funding having been cut by the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria), Zuma is likely to resort to an appeal not simply because he believes the KZN High Court (Pietermaritzburg) got it wrong in dismissing his political conspiracy arguments, but because fighting an appeal will be considerably less expensive than going on trial.

Zuma, who faces the prospect of a 25-year jail term if found guilty, has previously said he will need to sell his socks to pay his lawyers.

Acting DPP in KZN, Advocate Elaine Zungu, reportedly told Business Day yesterday that ‘the state is ready to proceed with trial in this matter’, which will resume this morning.

The earliest the trial can run is in April 2020, as it has not yet been set down for hearing on the High Court roll. However, Zuma and French arms company Thales, which is accused of bribing the then Deputy President for his ‘political protection’, will seek leave to appeal against the unanimous ruling against them by three judges, who found no legal basis for the case against them not to continue.

Business Day says it is unclear whether they will confirm these appeal applications this morning, or ask for a postponement so they can consider their options.

Full Business Day report