'Delighted' Business Unity SA on Gupta sanctions: 'The noose is tightening'

Former president Jacob Zuma

Former president Jacob Zuma

Former South African President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Mhlanganyelwa Zuma faces up to 25 years imprisonment if found guilty of during a trial where he is facing 18 charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

Zuma, who is accused of taking bribes from French defence company Thales in the 1990s, sought to have the case permanently dropped in March this year on the grounds that it was politically motivated.

But the trial is now scheduled to begin on Tuesday after High Court Judge Willie Seriti ruled that Zuma's "application for the permanent stay is dismissed with costs".

Zuma applied to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to not reinstate corruption charges linked to the multi-billion rand arms deal.

The charges against Zuma were originally filed a decade ago but then set aside by the National Prosecuting Authority shortly before he successfully ran for president in 2009.

Mazzone felt that a "dark cloud of doubt" was placed on the South African president for failing to act on all the evidence given against the Guptas at the Zondo Commission.

Zuma's co-accused French arms company Thales in their application for a permanent stay of prosecution also argued that there had been an unreasonable delay in the prosecution and the company being charged along with Zuma was a "knee-jerk reaction by the NPA" to just lump similar charges faced by Zuma on them.

However, the DA's member of parliament (MP) Natasha Mazzone, revealed her party's disappointment that President Cyril Ramaphosa and the African National Congress (ANC) had failed to act "against a single individual that has been implicated in State Capture".

However they said they were satisfied that the delays would not prejudice the trial.

Business lobby group Business Unity SA has described the decision by the US Treasury to sanctioned the Gupta family as the "sort of decisive action we all need", saying it will reinforce SA campaigns to combat state capture and corruption. The commission of inquiry into state capture, which is now underway, is investigating allegations of undue influence by the politically connected Gupta family on former president Jacob Zuma and at state-owned enterprises. But he later agreed to return at a future date.