Jacob Zuma, the former president of South Africa, finds himself without a legal defence mere weeks before his corruption trial, which is scheduled to start on 17 May, at the Pietermaritzburg High Court, according to reports.

ZUMA’S ATTORNEYS FILED A NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL ON WEDNESDAY

Zuma’s legal representatives, Mabuza Attorneys submitted a notice of withdrawal as attorneys of record to the High Court of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Division in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday, 21 April, 2021.

“Be pleased to take notice that Mabuza Attorneys hereby withdraw as the attorneys of record for Accused No.1.,” reads the court documents.

The first accused, according to the document in question, is Jacob Gedleyhlekisa Zuma. Attorney Eric Mabuza refused to give a reason for his decision to stop representing Zuma, according to News24.

Mabuza’s withdrawal has effectively nixed Zuma’s entire legal team for the forthcoming corruption trial, including advocate Muzi Sikhakhane.

Zuma’s latest legal setback comes just a week after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed his appeal on Tuesday 13 April, and ruled that he is liable for his own legal fees, which amount to approximately R25 million.

Judge Aubrey Ledwaba said, it is in the public interest that charges relating to the abuse of public office, corruption and fraud are prosecuted to ensure accountability, the promotion of good governance, the protection of the rule of law and advancement of the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights.”

CORRUPTION TRIAL TO TAKE PLACE NEXT MONTH

Zuma’s forthcoming corruption trial is related to an arms deal with French company Thales. The company allegedly agreed to pay the former president R500 000 per year in exchange for protection from investigations into the country’s shadowy history with arms deals.

Besides the protection bribe, Zuma also faces charges related to his old buddy, former financial advisor Schabir Shaik. Zuma stands accused of receiving millions in payments and benefits from Shaik in exchange for giving his business interests a helping hand.

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Presh JM Reporter

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