The Pietermaritzburg High Court granted former president Jacob Zuma’s special request for a delay in his arms deal corruption trial, and adjourned proceedings for three weeks.
Zuma is accused of receiving kickbacks from a $2 billion arms deal from the 1990s.
He pleaded not guilty in May to charges including corruption, fraud and money laundering.
On Monday, Zuma’s lawyers argued that his rights would be violated if his corruption trial was heard virtually and asked for a three-week postponement.
Zuma’s lawyer, advocate Dali Mpofu, made a special plea application to postpone the matter until Zuma can appear before the court in person and give oral evidence.
His plea was labelled by State advocate Wim Trengove SC as “merely a ruse” to avoid answering his corruption charges.
Trengove argued that Zuma’s presence online during the proceedings was appropriate and lawful.
However, Mpofu said that Zuma did not consent to have his special plea heard virtually and that he had the right to a public trial.
Yesterday the court invited the legal teams, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Department of Correctional Services to provide a list of any considerations or prejudice which they considered relevant to its decision to hold the proceedings virtually, reports IOL.
Presiding Judge Piet Koen handed down his judgement virtually yesterday morning.
“The directive of 15 July 2021, that the hearing of the special plea will proceed by way of virtual hearing shall continue to apply unless revoked or revised as listed below,” he said.