Jacob Zuma’s lawyer, Muzi Sikhakhane, had originally planned to present his opening arguments in isiZulu yesterday during the former president’s application to permanently set aside prosecution.
However his feelings were hurt after he could do nothing to overturn the chief justice’s language directive.
Zuma was appearing more than a decade after corruption charges were placed against him in the Thales debacle.
Sikhakhane had hoped to present opening arguments in his home language, isiZulu, but had been denied the opportunity, commenting:
“I was refused the right to speak my language, I feel insulted,”
However insulted he may have felt, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng had declared English as the language of record back in 2017 already, ensuring that presiding officers could have a common language.
Nevertheless, Sikhakhane felt wronged as he had been prohibited from speaking in his native tongue.
Further to this, Sikhakhane had insisted that the National Prosecuting Authority had wronged the former president in the manner with which they handled the case:
“But let me tell you what actually underpins the philosophy that we think the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) subscribes to in the manner in which they have dealt with Mr Zuma. I call it the mob justice.”
The legal representative had further pleaded with the court to play their role, minus ‘any regard to political whims’, reports The Citizen.
Sikhakhane expanded on the notion that Zuma had been mistreated in the proceedings that took place over the course of many years, saying that he is not ‘desperate to win’, but rather he was ‘desperate to hear how organs of state and myself and everyone must behave between now and the future of this constitution’.
The Pietermaritzburg High Court will hear arguments for the application for a permanent stay of prosecution until Friday, with the court case postponed until October.