During his time in office, former president Jacob Zuma did not give the impression of being overly concerned with optics. Perhaps it should not come as a surprise that he has been similarly cavalier in his choice of legal representation for his corruption case. It was revealed on Monday that Zuma had fired his long-term attorney, Michael Hulley, and replaced him with Daniel Mantsha, who was among people who allegedly aided and abetted the controversial Gupta family in their attempt to take control of Denel, as part of the broader state-capture project. Mantsha was appointed chairman of the state-owned arms manufacturer in 2015 and oversaw the disintegration of the once-thriving company into one that faced such a severe liquidity problem it needed a government bailout to pay staff and suppliers in late 2017.

He left when President Cyril Ramaphosa came to office and appointed Pravin Gordhan as public enterprises minister with a mandate to clean up state-owned enterprises. The Gu...

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