Published: Sat, April 07, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

South Africa's Zuma defiant after appearing in court

South Africa's Zuma defiant after appearing in court

Shadowy figures, arms deals, and allegations of corruption all feature in the thriller-like story behind the prosecution of South Africa's former president Jacob Zuma which begins in Durban on Friday.

Photo: Former president Jacob Zuma appears in the Durban High Court on 6 April 2018.

Zuma at the age of 75 faces at least corruption charges against him along with the charges of racketeering and fraud which includes taking bribes from a French arms manufacturer in a set of accusations that have always been with him during his political career.

The charges were set aside in 2009, paving the way for Zuma to run for president, but were re-instated in 2016.

"The truth will come out: what have I done?" he asked.

Zuma's financial adviser at the time, Schabir Shaik, was convicted of corruption in the case in 2005 and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Jacob Zuma now faces charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

Zuma said he was being treated like a prisoner, even by the people he trusted and that just because he was charged did not mean he was guilty.

"I am here to support him as a leader who steered the ship as the head of the ANC and embodied the party and showed us how to do the same", said 56-year-old Zodwa Ntombela, wearing an ANC scarf.

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Zuma, who was forced out of office in February, however denies any wrongdoing.

"It is clear to me that the judiciary, politicians believe I don't have rights".

After the hearing he addressed a crowd of his supporters gathered in front of the Durban High court and reaffirmed his innocence in the long-running case that resurfaced after his fall from on Ash Wednesday.

He was replaced as president by his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, who has promised a robust campaign against corruption and also wants to rebuild a ruling party whose moral stature has diminished since it took power at the end of white minority rule in 1994.

Zuma said he chose to resign in order to prevent bloodshed as no life should be lost because of him.

Zuma said the charges were reinstated for political reasons.

Zuma's legal team was headed up by Advocate Hoosen Gani, the state was led by Advocate Billy Downer, and French arms company Thales - accused number two - was represented by Senior Counsel Anton Katz.

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