An application by former president Jacob Zuma to have the prosecutor in his arms deal corruption trial removed was dismissed by a South African judge on Tuesday.
“The special plea is dismissed,” Judge Piet Koen said. “It is obviously in the interests of all the parties – the accused, the state representing the general public – that this matter be resolved as soon as is reasonably possible. It has been hanging around too long.”
Zuma on Thursday had argued that Billy Downer was biased against him and submitted a “special plea” to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to have him replaced for allegedly leaking his current state of health to the media.
Briefly jailed earlier this year for contempt of court for refusing to appear at a separate corruption inquiry, Zuma was granted medical parole after being hospitalised for an undisclosed condition.
Last month, Jacob Zuma’s advocate, Dali Mpofu, Mpofu explained the Act prohibited Downer from providing legal documents to the media.
He said Downer risks facing a 15-year sentence if found guilty of the charges.
Dressed in a dark suit and red tie, Zuma, whose decade in power was marred by scandals, was at the Pietermaritzburg court to hear whether his application would be granted.
The former president, 79, ousted by the governing African National Congress in 2018, is being charged for corruption, money laundering and racketeering in the long-running case over the 1990s deal for military equipment. He has pleaded not guilty./