Former president Jacob Zuma has withdrawn his application for leave to appeal the dismissal of his stay of prosecution application, paving the way for him to prepare for court proceedings.
In a statement by his foundation on Wednesday, Zuma welcomed the acceptance of his withdrawal by the Constitutional Court, and is preparing to “demonstrate that he has never benefited from any arms deal corruption or tried to evade the trial”.
He “hopes that his innocence will indeed be demonstrated for all to see”.
“I hope that our citizens will finally get some certainty and closure as to the real beneficiaries of the arms deal, if any corruption in that regard did occur,” he said.
His foundation expressed the former president’s “unreserved respect for the judiciary and other relevant State institutions”, saying Zuma had “always sought the opportunity to clear his name before our courts”.
Zuma is charged, along with French arms company Thales, with one count of racketeering, 12 of fraud, four of corruption and one of money laundering.
Thales’ stay of prosecution application was also denied.
Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering, relating to the arms deal.
It is alleged that he received 783 payments, totalling just over R4 million, from his then-financial adviser Schabir Shaik and his Nkobi group of companies between 1996 and 2005.
In November, the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg dismissed Zuma’s appeal against its decision to not grant a stay of prosecution.
But Zuma launched a bid to appeal the decision, arguing that the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) could arrive at a different conclusion.
The core of Zuma’s stay application was his long-time allegation that, due to an unreasonable delay in the commencement of the proceedings, it wouldn’t be possible to receive a fair trial.
In March, the SCA dismissed his application to have the case stayed.