Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2003-09-03 Reporter: Sapa

'Zuma's Story Should Be Told Too'



Mail and Guardian

Date 2003-09-03



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Counsel for Deputy President Jacob Zuma told the Pretoria High Court on Wednesday that Zuma's side of the story should be told as well.

"Not so long ago in the Durban Magistrate's Court the respondents [the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions] made an unusually detailed charge sheet available for publication," said Neil Tuchton, SC, for Zuma.

"The other side of the story has not [been] made public."

He was apparently referring to the charge sheet in the case against Zuma's financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, and a number of Shaik's companies. The charge sheet contains several references to Zuma, including one that he had used a R1-million bribe from a French company to pay for a palatial home in KwaZulu-Natal.

The company, now known as Thomson CSF, is involved in the country's multibillion-rand arms deal.

Zuma's counsel brought an urgent application before Judge President Bernard Ngoepe on Wednesday in an effort to get a copy of an encrypted French fax that pertains to the alleged bribe.

The National Directorate of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) opposes the application.

MTK Moerane, SC, for the NDPP, asked for a postponement so his clients could file responding papers.

Judge President Bernard Ngoepe granted this and provisionally set the matter down for hearing on September 15.

Moerane also asked for an order that the affidavits contained in documents before the court, not be published once they were filed, but only once the hearing started.

"It would not be proper for each set of papers to be published at this stage ... Each one doesn't give the full picture."

Tuchton said the NDPP did not only deny Zuma access to the document [the fax].

"They also want to stop our story about why they want the document, from being told in public ... The entire drama has been playing out in the public arena."

Ngoepe said his recollection was that affidavits were privileged until the hearing started.

He stood the matter down until later in the day to give Tuchton time to research the relevant legislation regarding the issue.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and the Mail & Guardian.