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Zuma’s legal team quits ahead of corruption trial

THE 12-year delay in the trial of former South African President Jacob Zuma looks set to be even longer after his legal team quit three weeks before the start of a trial where he is going to face a plethora of corruption charges.

Eric Mabuza, of Eric Mabuza Attorneys, has filed a notice in the Maritzburg High Court, notifying the court of their withdrawal from representing Zuma in the corruption case. The law firm represents Zuma in his other legal battle with the Zondo Commission into state capture, theft and corruption. 

Zuma and French arms company Thales are due in court on May 17 on charges related to a $2 billion arms deal from the 1990s, when he served as deputy president.

Zuma is being tried on 16 charges of racketeering, fraud, corruption and money laundering. He denies wrongdoing in the case. Thales has said it has no knowledge of any transgressions committed by its staff over the awarding of the contracts.

News 24 said the firm representing Zuma, Mabuza Attorneys, had filed a formal withdrawal notice with the Pietermartizburg High Court on Wednesday morning. The firm had declined to give reasons for the withdrawal, the news agency said.

Mabuza Attorneys, and Zuma’s lawyer, AdvocateMuzi Sikhakhane, did not answer telephone calls and text messages from Reuters seeking confirmation. A spokesman for Zuma also did not respond.

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The 16 charges Zuma faces were reinstated in March 2018, a month after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party kicked Zuma out of office after a presidency tainted by graft allegations and sovereign credit-rating downgrades. – African Mirror Reporter and Thomson Reuters Foundation.

By The African Mirror