Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: FELIX DLANGAMANDLA
Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: FELIX DLANGAMANDLA

Former president Jacob Zuma’s has no reasonable prospect of success in appealing against the judgment that his corruption prosecution should go ahead, the Pietermaritzburg high court ruled on Friday.

The three judges who dismissed applications for a permanent stay of prosecution by Zuma and Thales, the French arms company accused of bribing him for his “political protection” from any possible investigation of the multi-billion rand arms deal, have unanimously denied the pair the right to appeal that decision. Both appeals were dismissed with costs.

Thales has also applied to the Constitutional Court for direct access to challenge the high court’s ruling, but SA's highest court has yet to make a decision on whether it will hear that case. Zuma’s lawyers also have the option to petition the Supreme Court of Appeal to hear his appeal, but he is likely to face an uphill battle in doing so.

Lead prosecutor Billy Downer has argued strongly that multiple courts have already ruled that the various complaints made by Zuma about the case against him — which relate to delays in his trial, prosecutorial misconduct and political interference — can be addressed during his actual trial.

In its ruling dismissing Zuma’s application for a permanent stay of his prosecution, the Pietermaritzburg High Court confirmed what multiple other courts have stated about the case against Zuma: in the absence of evidence showing that the prosecution he faces is without any basis, and despite apparent politically motivated efforts to meddle in its processes, it should go ahead.