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A new decision on a corruption trial that almost collapsed illustrates the enormity of the task awaiting national director of public prosecutions Shamila Batohi.
Vuyo Zambodla, formerly a senior official of the Buffalo City metro, is facing charges related to corruption and tender fraud. He first appeared in the East London magistrate’s court in 2011 and the trial started the following year.
In March 2014, after the case had been running for about two years, the magistrate recused himself, saying he believed the accused was not getting a fair trial because of continual "bickering" between the prosecution and defence counsel. He was also concerned that the lengthy delays in prosecuting the trial could prejudice its fairness.
Further, he said the prosecutor’s cross-examination of Zambodla was so "irregular" that it was impossible for him (the magistrate) to evaluate Zambodla objectively as a witness, and he felt the only option was to stand down.
Following the magistrate’s decision, s...
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