Publication: Business Day Issued: Date: 2004-10-05 Reporter: Tim Cohen

Shaik Case: Zuma May Have His Day in Court



Business Day

Date 2004-10-05


Tim Cohen

Web Link


The legal team of Durban businessmen Schabir Shaik said yesterday it had not ruled out the possibility of calling Deputy President Jacob Zuma as a defence witness in the long awaited fraud and corruption trial which begins in Durban on Monday.

Zuma features prominently in the charge sheet that will form the basis of the trial, but has not been charged. The National Prosecuting Authority declined to prosecute him saying it lacked sufficient evidence.

An initial list of more than 100 state witnesses was published in the Sunday Times at the weekend, but Zuma was not included as a witness. Instructing attorney Reeves Parsee said yesterday, however, that the defence "might have to" call Zuma, depending on the evidence. "We will decide in due course," Parsee said.

While the prosecution has so far decided not to include Zuma on its list of witnesses, Scorpions spokesman Sipho Ngwema has been careful not close the door entirely on this, saying: "You never know what might happen in a criminal case."

Zuma has consistently proclaimed his innocence of the implied allegations that have arisen in the charges against Shaik. Testifying in court could provide a counter-balance to the damage the allegations have done to his political career.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said yesterday that Zuma should be charged and given his day in court.

DA Justice spokesman Sheila Camerer said the Scorpions' continued refusal to prosecute Zuma along with Shaik "becomes curiouser and curiouser".

The revelations at the weekend about the existence of a detailed forensic report compiled by auditing firm KPMG, which contained further evidence against Zuma, showed that his involvement in the case was even less easy to simply shrug off, she said.

"Besides the new report, apparently about a hundred witnesses have been lined up to give evidence. In the light of this it is becoming increasingly strange that Zuma is not charged and made to stand trial alongside Schabir Shaik," Camerer said.

With acknowledgement to Tim Cohen and Business Day.