S.Africa's Zuma arrives at court for graft hearing

Charlene Craig
April 7, 2018

Zuma is being tried before a Durban high court on a 16-count charge of corruption relating to a 30 billion rand ($2.20 billion) arms deal arranged in the late 1990s.

Zuma countered with his own legal challenges, but prosecutors re-filed the charges after Zuma was forced from power by his own party in February.

"W$3 e would lead a march from King Dinizulu Park (formerly known as Botha Park) to the Durban High Court on Friday morning", Bishop Bheki Ngcobo told reporters at an earlier press briefing.

Former president Jacob Zuma on Friday told a crowd of his supporters the criminal charges against him are political.

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His supporters descended on the city to rally for him, while his critics think court action is long overdue.

The expected court appearance of Zuma had been hailed by South Africa civil society and trade unions which includes the powerful National Union of Metal Workers (NUMSA).

Downer said that lawyers for Zuma's co-accused, French arms dealer Thales SA (Pty) Ltd, formerly known as Thint, had also requested an adjournment for time to "make representations" to the NDPP.

Speaking in isiZulu to a large crowd gathered outside the court, Zuma defended his name and said it had been dragged through the mud.

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Protesters in support of former president Jacob Zuma protest outside the High Court in Durban, South Africa, April 6, 2018.

Zuma's transition from "Mr. President" to "Accused Number One" in less than two months is a significant setback for the 75-year-old, whose nine years in office were marked by economic stagnation and credit downgrades.

Scandal-tainted South African President Jacob Zuma resigned after years of corruption scandals.

"In Zuma's case it seems that it is guilty until proven innocent", said BLF regional spokesman Thobani Zikalala who warned that a campaign by opposition parties against Zuma would preclude a fair trial.

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Zuma's friends, the Gupta brothers, used the top-security Waterkloof air base to fly in 200 wedding guests from India for a family member's wedding in 2013, sparking a public outcry. But the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, challenged the decision to set aside the charges, and in 2016, it was judged "irrational" by the High Court - a ruling that the Supreme Court upheld a year ago.

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