Zuma appears in court over graft charges

Zuma appears in court over graft charges

Zuma appears in court over graft charges

Zuma appeared briefly in the Durban High Court on Friday morning before Judge Themba Sishi to face 16 corruption charges linked to a multi-billion dollar 1990s arms deal.

Zuma, 75, appeared relaxed during the brief hearing during which the case was adjourned until June 8. Schabir Shaikh, his former financial adviser, was found guilty and jailed in 2005 for trying to solicit bribes for Mr Zuma from a subsidiary of French arms company Thales.

Charges against Mr Zuma were filed but then set aside by the National Prosecuting Authority shortly before he successfully ran for president in 2009. "We say also he can stand with Jacob Zuma", added Pastor Nqoba Zindela, another organiser.

JACOB Zuma supporters have started their walk from King Dinizulu park to the Durban High Court.

- March 2018: Prosecutors decide he should face 12 counts of fraud, two of corruption, one of racketeering and one of money laundering.

The former president's supporters have reportedly descended on the city to rally for him. "It is a conspiracy, it's politically motivated", pro-Zuma business manager Sphelele Ngwane, 29, told AFP. If he chooses to stay out of that legal battle, Zuma will undoubtedly fight the case on his own.

"I am innocent until proven guilty, but there are people who want to treat me like I am guilty", Zuma told the crowd from a concert-style stage to wild cheers.

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The Zuma of old is still here - the crowd pleaser, the charmer and tactical politician.

Hundreds came out to demonstrate their allegiance to the former president, many dressed in the African National Congress (ANC) colours of green and gold and others carried signs.

In a meeting of the wounded, Zuma's political allies from various ANC structures packed the small venue.

Despite the accusations, Mr Zuma is denying any wrongdoing.

Current NPA head, Shaun Abrahams, announced last month that charges against Zuma would be reinstated.

Mr Zuma's remaining supporters argue that he is being targeted for backing a radical economic reform agenda.

The case is unlikely to be heard before the end of this year, according to legal experts, given Mr Zuma is challenging the decision to prosecute him. As was the case the previous evening, Zuma supporters had chosen to defy the directive from ANC leadership forbidding the wearing of party regalia to express solidarity with the former president.

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