207 witnesses lined up for Zuma trial

JOHANNESBURG — The State has lined up arms deal critics, former SARS employees, auditors, Special Investigative Unit and Financial Intelligence Centre officials to testify in former president Jacob Zuma’s trial.

The State has narrowed down the list of witnesses to 207.

It also includes some people who testified against Zuma’s former financial advisor Schabir Shaik, who was found guilty of corruption.

However, Shaik – who was convicted of the alleged payments between Zuma and arms company Thint – is not on the list seen by News24.

Zuma is due to appear in the Durban High Court on April 6.

The Hawks issued a summons against the former president on Monday.

He faces 16 charges relating to 783 payments, which, it is claimed, he received in connection with the controversial multi-billion rand arms deal.

Former head of public prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe dropped the charges in 2009 based on the “spy tapes” audio transcripts.

These were made up of recordings of telephone conversations between then Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka, which Zuma’s legal team claimed showed political interference in the decision to charge him.

The charges were subsequently withdrawn, just before Zuma was sworn in for his first term as  president.

Arms deal manufacturer, Thint, was also served with a summons and is expected to appear alongside Zuma.

Other witnesses on the list attached to the summons include bank representatives, SAPS members, officials from the department of minerals, as well as audit firm KPMG.

Others on the list are: late president Nelson Mandela’s former lawyer Ishmail Ayoob; Richard Young, who lost out on the arms deal tender to Thint; and former standing committee on public accounts chairperson Gavin Woods, who was also a vocal critic of the arms deal commission, largely described as a farce and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Others expected to testify are being brought into the country from London, Australia and New Zealand, while member of Parliament turned whistleblower Andrew Feinstein also features, alongside Cape Town’s embattled Mayor Patricia De Lille.

Although some amendments have been made to the list, it’s understood that the State could still call witnesses once the trial resumes. Shaik could be among this group.

According to reports, Zuma has already requested a postponement of the April 6 court appearance, but the National Prosecuting Authority has declined to comment.

Spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said he was not aware that such a request had been made.“We don’t comment on any correspondence between attorneys and the NPA,” added Mfaku.

Attempts by News24 to reach Zuma’s legal representative were not successful.


Gary Murambiwa
the authorGary Murambiwa