South Africa court dismisses former president’s application to remove prosecutor at his corruption trial

The application for leave to appeal by Jacob Zuma, seeking to have the prosecutor in his corruption trial removed from the case, was dismissed Wednesday. Judge Pief Koeman dismissed the application because he said it lacked reasonable prospects for success.

The recently rejected application stems from an earlier judgment issued by the same court on October 26 of last year, dismissing the accused’s plea of “no title to prosecute” under section 106 of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA). In the plea, the former president challenged the objectivity and independence of the prosecutor on the grounds that his conduct, including the alleged leaks of confidential information to the media, was indicative of a lack of impartiality. In dismissing the plea, Judge Koeman held this did not constitute any infringement of Zuma’s constitutional rights to a fair trial, nor any possibility that the same will be impaired.

The judgment on the dismissal of the application maintains that the former president’s claims that the Prosecutor’s title to prosecute under Section 106(h) of the CPA lacks merit in the present circumstances. Judge Koeman further noted that while innumerable avenues are available to an accused if his rights to a fair trial are infringed,” they do not include success with a special plea under the rubric of s 106(1)(h) of the CPA.”

Mr. Zuma faces 16 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering which are linked to the purchase of arms from five different European arms firms. This decision paves the way for the the trial against the former South Africa President to proceed.