Hellens's new strategy (replacing the old Michael Hulley one of asking the NPA to review its decision to charge Zuma for fraud in connection with the old arms deal of the late 1990s) is to ask for a permanent stay of prosecution. They'll be back in court in Pietermaritzburg at the end of November.

Hellens was confident on Friday that this would work and hey, this is KwaZulu-Natal we're talking about here. The dice are loaded and everyone knows it. It's where Judge Chris Nicholson changed South African history by letting Zuma off the hook back in 2008 when he argued, as Hellens intimated he would argue now, that the case against Zuma was politically motivated.

So assume the worst and Hellens wins his permanent stay. The state will appeal and, as happened to the Nicholson judgment, the Pietermaritzburg ruling will be overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeal. Hellens will appeal that and it will go to the Constitutional Court. It will back the appeal court and direct the trial back to the high court. By then Zuma is approaching 80

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