Jacob Zuma, centre, in the Pietermaritzburg high court on Monday, May 20 2019. Picture: FELIX DLANGAMANDLA
Jacob Zuma, centre, in the Pietermaritzburg high court on Monday, May 20 2019. Picture: FELIX DLANGAMANDLA

Former president Jacob Zuma’s advocate hit out at the Pietermaritzburg high court for not allowing him to make a 10-minute opening statement on the case in isiZulu on Monday.

Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane told Business Day that Zuma’s legal team had sought permission to make the address prior to today’s hearing of his permanent stay of prosecution hearing.

“But today I am told that I cannot address the court in my own language … I feel insulted.”

Sikhakhane’s planned address in isiZulu, which he has provided to Business Day, translates as follows:

“The manner in which the NPA, an organ of state, has handled this matter should offend anyone that subscribed to the constitution and the values that underpin it. It offends the values we chose would underpin the nature of our post-apartheid state.

“This court, the custodian of the constitution, must be most offended by the reckless manner in which the NPA disregarded the constitution in their political pursuit of Zuma.

“Zuma’s rights, in particular his right to a fair trial, have been violated in the most egregious way.”

BusinessLIVE reporter Karyn Maughan updates us on the case in the Pietermaritzburg high court where former president Jacob Zuma appeared on corruption charges on May 20 2019.

He added that the “chilling spy tapes” — in which former Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy discussed the Zuma prosecution and its political dimensions with former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka — “reveal what must offend all of us ... the manner in which Ngcuka and McCarthy used a state institution to further the political interests of Thabo Mbeki, just because they supported him”. 

“To make it worse Ngcuka now tells this country that he interfered in the prosecution because he was married to a deputy president,” Sikhakhane states, in apparent reference to Ngcuka’s evidence that he had discussed Zuma’s prosecution with McCarthy because he was married to former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

“That is probably the most ludicrous justification you will ever hear,” he added.

According to Sikhakhane, “the decision not to charge Zuma with Shaik while telling the whole world Zuma committed the alleged crimes with was most unlawful”.

“The lies, the conniving, the abuse of state power to pursue political ends should never be tolerated even if it is committed against those we choose to hate. It is the antithesis of the values we chose when we left apartheid behind.”

The hearing continues.