South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma has been charged with corruption linked to a 1990s arms deal. After the 75-year-old’s 15-minute appearance at the High Court in Durban on Friday morning, the case was adjourned until 8 June.
He faces 16 counts of corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering, which dogged his presidency and were reinstated in 2016. His supporters descended on the city to rally for him, while his critics think court action is long overdue. After the hearing, Mr Zuma addressed the crowds, who had come to stand alongside him at the court in his home province.
“Some people are acting like I have been convicted, I am innocent until proven guilty,” he said, according to Reuters news agency.
He then led them in song and dance.Mr Zuma and his legal team insist the charges are trumped up and politically motivated. Mr Zuma was deputy president at the time of the arms deal in 1999. He is accused of accepting bribes from French arms firm Thales via his financial adviser at the time. The adviser, Schabir Shaikh, was found guilty of trying to solicit the bribes and was jailed in 2005.
The case against Mr Zuma was dropped shortly before he ran for president in 2009.