Publication: Pretoria News Issued: Date: 2008-08-18 Reporter: Sapa

Zuma Trial Date : Hearing Set for December



Pretoria News



Reporter Sapa

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Legal teams for the State and ANC president Jacob Zuma will come to the Pietermaritzburg high court on December 8 to argue over a date when he should stand trial.

That was unless Zuma agreed to the State's proposal for his criminal trial to be held in the second quarter of next year, or if Judge Chris Nicholson ruled in his favour in his recent application to have the decision to prosecute him declared unlawful.

Agreement over court dates, including the dates when documents should be submitted to court, was reached shortly before the two parties were due to appear in the Pietermaritzburg high court on Friday.

According to the draft settlement agreement, Zuma's application to have a stay of prosecution will be heard on November 27 and 28.

Zuma will need to serve his papers for a stay of prosecution on the State by September 30.

Zuma's co-accused - Thint Holdings (Southern Africa) Pty Ltd and Thint (Pty) Ltd - will have their application for a stay of prosecution heard on November 25 and 26.

Zuma faces a charge of racketeering, four charges of corruption, a charge of money laundering and 12 charges of fraud related to a multi-billion rand government arms deal.

Zuma was charged in 2005 but that case was struck from the roll in 2006. He was re-charged in December 2007.

The two Thint companies are the South African subsidiaries of the French arms manufacturing giant Thales International (formerly Thomson-CSF).

They each face a charge of racketeering and two counts of corruption.

The National Prosecuting authority has in the past indicated that it would like Zuma's trial to take place in the second quarter of 2009, between mid-April and the end of June.

According to the agreement reached on Friday, Zuma needs to tell the court by November 17 whether he agreed to his trial starting on the "first day of the court's second term in 2009".

If he does not agree, the court will hear argument on December 8 in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Unlike previous occasions, there were no Zuma supporters outside the court building on Friday. Zuma was also not present, although several journalists were. - Sapa

With acknowledgements to Sapa and Pretoria News.