A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

South Africa court: prosecutors may seek Mauritius documents on Zuma meetings

[JURIST] The Durban High Court in South Africa [JURIST news archive] granted an execution order Tuesday allowing the country's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) [official website] to seek documents obtained by the Mauritius government [official website] which are believed to evidence meetings between former South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma [party profile; advocacy website] and arms manufacturer Thint. Prosecutors are considering charging Zuma with corruption for allegedly receiving bribes from Thint, a subsidiary of the France-based Thales Group [corporate website], but have not yet decided to do so [NPA press release, DOC].

In April, the court approved a letter of request [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] seeking documents from Mauritius, but Zuma appealed that ruling. The South African Supreme Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments for the appeal in September. In Tuesday's ruling, the court said that there is no reason why the documents could not be obtained now, before the appeal is heard, and kept under lock and key pending the outcome of the decision. Zuma argues that there is no reason to request the documents [SABC report] until after the appeal is finalized. While the NPA currently holds copies of the documents, they now seek the originals. South Africa's Mail & Guardian has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.