Publication: Sapa Issued: Durban Date: 2007-12-31 Reporter: Sapa

State Intends to Call 218 Witnesses in Zuma Case




Issued Durban



The state has identified a list of 218 witnesses it intends calling to testify in its case against the African National Congress president Jacob Zuma.

Attached to the indictment, filed in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, the list of witnesses includes Independent Democrat party leader Patricia de Lille, former Judge Willem Heath and former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein.

The indictment was filed on Friday, shortly after midday as Zuma was about to hand out presents to children in his home district of Nkandla.

Zuma faces 16 charges in total -- one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud.

The two South African subsidiaries of Thales International (formerly Thomson-CFS) -- Thint Holding (Southern Africa) Pty Ltd and Thint (Pty) Ltd -- each face a charge of racketeering, and two counts of corruption.

De Lille was the initial whistle blower on corruption in the R30 billion arms deal that has seen Zuma's former financial adviser Schabir Shaik convicted of fraud and corruption.

Nelson Mandela's former attorney Ismail Ayob is on the witness list, as are numerous people who were on the state's list of witnesses for the trail of Shaik.

Another notable name *1 is that of Richard Young, the Cape Town businessman whose company, CCII systems, lost out on a bid to supply combat technology for the navy's new corvettes to African Defence Systems (Pty) Ltd -- a company in which both Shaik and Thint had stakes.

The leader of the Democratic Alliance's KwaZulu-Natal caucus Roger Burrows and the DA's former finance spokeswoman Raenette Taljaard are on the list. Taljaard is currently the director of the Helen Suzman Foundation.

The former chairman of parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa), Gavin Woods is on the list of witnesses. Woods resigned in February 2002 in protest at the alleged interference in Scopa's work, by among others, Zuma, several cabinet ministers, former ANC Chief Whip Tony Yengeni and national assembly speaker Dr Frene Ginwala.

Feinstein and Taljaard were also members of Scopa prior to Woods quitting.

The three secretaries who were crucial in implicating Shaik are also on the witness list against Zuma. Shaik's former personal assistant Bianca Singh as well as the two secretaries of former Thint boss Alain Thetard -- Susan Delique and Marion Marais -- are expected to testify.

It was Delique who typed out the note that would later become the so-called "encrypted fax" which records a bribe of R500,000 per annum for Zuma from Thomson CSF.

In her testimony at the start of the Shaik trial, Delique said Thetard had told her to type up the agreement and fax it in encrypted form to France.

Durban business tycoon Vivian Reddy is also on the list. During Shaik's trial, it emerged that Reddy had come to Zuma's assistance when he incurred a debt of more than R1-million on his Nkandla traditional village development.

The testimony of forensic auditor Johan van der Walt revealed at the time that Reddy had helped Zuma to obtain a R900,000 bond.

Reddy then signed surety for part of it and then made the monthly R12,000 bond repayment until March 2004.

Van der Walt, a forensic auditor with KPMG, whose testimony was crucial during the Shaik trial, is again on the state's witness list for Zuma's trial.

With acknowledgement to Sapa.

*1      While it will be a labour of love to give evidence for The People represented by The State against Thint Holding (Southern Africa) (Pty) Ltd (Accused 2) and Thint (Pty) Ltd (Accused 3) both represented by Pierre Jean-Marie Robert Moynot, I would prefer that Accused 1 becomes a State witness and consequently The Peoples' case becomes as easy as falling off a log.

This will save Accused 1 of having to sit in the penitentiary for a minimum of 15 years in respect of which 10 counts and 5 alternative sub-counts attract the minimum sentence.

One might easily conclude that either some of the sentences might run consecutively or attract a sentence higher than the stipulated minimum.

It is a pity that the NPA could find just one Thint representative to take the punch as a natural rather than juristic person.

But Accused 2 and Accused 3 are charged with 2 counts (Count 3 and Count 6) where there is a minimum sentence of 30 years. So if they are found guilty of one of these charges they should be blacklisted from trading with The State for 15 years and if they are found guilty of two of these charges they should be blacklisted from trading with The State for 30 years.

A plea arrangement will also save The People about R50 million in funding the legal costs of The State and Accused 1.