The latest in the Zuma saga is a battle over original documents which the State is seeking to obtain and which were seized during raids conducted in Mauritius some time ago. The State is seeking a letter from the court to the authorities in Mauritius requesting that the documents be handed over to enable the State to proceed further against Zuma. The proceedings got off to a pretty rocky start with Judge Phillip Levensohn reprimanding Zuma’s counsel, Advocate Kemp J Kemp, when he attempted to submit a 69 page heads of argument (a document outlining arguments to be made together with authorities and other references). These documents include the much talked about encrypted fax and the 2000 diary of former Thint chief executive Alain Thetard which contains an entry mentioning a meeting with Zuma and Shabir Shaik.
The defence is attempting to block the State’s efforts to obtain the originals on the basis that the copies of the documents used to convict Shaik were obtained illegally (the one argument is that a 2001 order of the Mauritius did not authorise release of copies of the seized documents to South African authorities and that, by using the copies which were obtained (using correct diplomatic channels, argued the National Prosecuting Authority), the State is approaching the court with unclean hands and this is, in turn, unconstitutional. The NPA should therefore be denied the opportunity to use this documentation in further proceedings against Zuma. Basically, Zuma’s (and Thint’s) legal teams are fighting to exclude evidence.