Jacob Zuma Appears in Court for South Africa Corruption Trial

Hugh Fox
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.

During the 15-minute hearing, Zuma was not asked to plead but High Judge Themba Sishi said he should appear in court on 8 June after his review application has been examined on 15 May.

Zuma is accused of taking bribes from French arms maker Thales over a contract worth several billion dollars during his time as a provincial economy minister and then deputy ANC president.

The original charges against Mr Zuma, which arose from 783 suspicious payments he received, were controversially dropped in 2009 shortly before he was appointed South Africa's president for the first time.

But most South Africans see the case as bringing much-needed accountability to the country's politicians, and a more than welcome development after nine years of Zuma administrations marked by economic stagnation and widespread corruption.

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Selfe said Zuma should also be made to pay back an estimated further R15 million spent to fight the reinstatement of corruption charges against him in the long-running legal battle dubbed the "Spy Tapes" case.

"The reality is that Jacob Zuma should find himself in jail", Feinstein said, adding that there was "overwhelming evidence" of the ex-president's guilt.

The ANC had resolved that no ANC member should support Zuma in party capacity or while wearing ANC regalia.

The former leader, who was forced out of office in February, however denies any wrongdoing.

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.

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Zuma said there were "people who want me silenced" because they wanted to remain rich and keep the black majority poor.

He alleged that the judiciary and politicians believed that he did not have rights.

"I am innocent until proven guilty".

However, the decision to reinstate the charges may possibly be a move aimed at keeping his job secure due to a court ruling which declared his appointment "invalid".

In March 2016 the South African Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a judgement that the failure by Zuma's government to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was illegal.

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