POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: Zuma back in court propped up with new-look legal team
Former president Jacob Zuma returns to the dock on Friday to face graft charges with a brand new legal team.
In the meantime, the annual Brics summit scheduled for SA this week has been touted as the most important foreign policy and investment week for the country since President Cyril Ramaphosa took office in February this year.
Prior to his forced resignation, Zuma had requested a notice period of three months, saying he would use it to introduce Ramaphosa to international bodies such as Brics. The ANC rejected this.
Brics is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. SA joined after being invited in December 2010.
SA assumed the rotational chairmanship of Brics from January 1 to December 31 2018.
The leaders of the member countries including controversial presidents such as Vladimir Putin from Russia and Narendra Modi from India, are expected to be in SA this week.
Besides other events leading up to the summit, Ramaphosa will on Tuesday host Chinese President Xi Jinping, while the actual summit will take place from July 25 to July 27.
Continuing on the international stage, Deputy President David Mabuza will lead a delegation to the 22nd International Aids Conference in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The International Aids Conference is the largest conference on any global health issue in the world. Mabuza is expected to call for high-level political and financial commitments on HIV, as well as elevating the health issues surrounding tuberculosis.
Back in SA, Zuma will be represented by a brand new legal team for the first time in almost a decade after firing his longtime attorney Michael Hulley and appointing former Denel chairman Daniel Mantsha as his new attorney. It will be Zuma’s third appearance in the high court on Friday on 16 charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering and money laundering. Briefs to counsel had to be terminated before his second appearance due to financial woes. It will remain to be seen if Zuma’s legal team asks for a postponement on Friday. The state has said it will be ready to proceed with the case on November 12.
Land hearings by the joint constitutional review committee will continue in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng this week. The committee has been tasked with determining whether a review of section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses are necessary, to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation, and propose the necessary constitutional amendments where necessary.