Durban – FORMER President Jacob Zuma now has the option to shelve his plans to represent himself when his arms deal linked corruption case resumes at the Pietermaritzburg High Court next month – that is if he takes up human rights lawyer Richard Spoor’s offer to represent him pro bono.
Zuma parted ways with his legal team composed of Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, Eric Mabuza SC, Advocate Thabani Masuku SC, Rudolph Baloyi and Advocate Mpilo Sikhakhane.
Zuma reportedly dumped his lawyers and has set his sights on defending himself in court with the former head of state said to believe that the case against him was no longer a criminal trial but a politically motivated one designed to finish him off.
On Friday lawyer Spoor, who in his biography on Twitter describes himself as “a public Interest lawyer with a special interest in land reform, mines and communities and compensation for occupational diseases” and a “militant non-racialist” has offered to come to Zuma’s aid when he heads back to court in May.
Late on Thursday Spoor took to his Twitter account, which has 24 500 followers, declaring his desire to represent Zuma. “I would be happy to represent the former president on a pro bono basis,” Spoor posted.
Under the Tweet, political analyst Jamie Mighti responded to Spoor saying: “I would decline your offer if I was him. No man should be represented by a lawyer who has effectively expressed hatred for him.”
However, Spoor insisted that despite that he would still be willing to represent Zuma saying that a true professional sets their personal feelings aside.
“I have defended people charged with rape, murder and child abuse. They have a right to a defence as does everyone else. Also I don’t hate anyone,” Spoor retorted.
Zuma’s spokesperson Vukani Mathabela said that they would not comment on what is posted on social media platforms and that they would only be in a position to comment only if there was a formal discussion with Zuma on the matter.
“There are many people who say that they can be Msholozi’s attorney, but if it’s not formal and it’s just on Twitter it will end up being confusing because there are many different tweets but if it is official and the president has been approached then we can take it from there but while it’s just on Twitter we can’t comment because he’s just saying it there.
“Others say they can pay Msholozi’s legal fees for his attorneys’ services, they tweet and others write on Facebook, but it’s just their wishes. However, once it’s official then we can comment but while it’s just on Twitter we’d rather leave it like that and not comment on it,” Mathabela said.