Former president Jacob Zuma has made an undertaking to attend his criminal trial in May, the Pietermaritzburg high court heard on Tuesday.
State advocate Billy Downer SC told the court that Zuma and a representative from French arms company Thales had made the undertaking therefore there was no need for judge Nkosinathi Chili to make any order to compel the parties to be in attendance at this stage.
He told the court that the state had agreed to Zuma’s request not to be in court on Tuesday.
Zuma’s attorney Rudolph Baloyi told TimesLIVE that the former president was “ready” to stand trial and that he was doing “fine” amid his legal woes.
The trial is set down from May 17 to June 30. Further dates will be added at a later stage.
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The trial is expected to be lengthy as there are over 200 witnesses on the state’s list.
Downer told the court that Covid-19 travel restrictions remain a consideration as there are international witnesses as well as the Thales representative, who is in Paris, that need to be present in court.
“We don’t know what will happen in the future so it is an issue that we will take as it happens.”
Zuma is accused of receiving an annual bribe of R500,000 from French arms dealer Thales for protection from an investigation into the controversial arms deal.
The alleged bribe was facilitated by Schabir Shaik, who was Zuma’s former financial adviser.