Ex-South African President Jacob Zuma charged with 16 counts of corruption

Ex-South African President Jacob Zuma charged with 16 counts of corruption

It was 09:25 on Friday when former president Jacob Zuma, dressed in a crisp black suit and a red tie, stepped into the dock of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban.

"This matter is adjourned until June 8", judge Themba Sishi said after being addressed by lawyers from both sides who confirmed that Zuma would appeal against the decision to prosecute him.

The crowd that gathered to support former President Jacob Zuma is seen reflected in his glasses as he waits to speak after appearing on corruption charges at the Durban High Court, South Africa.

Mr Zuma is accused of taking bribes connected with a $2.5 billion arms deal with Thales, the French defence company, in the 1990s.

Charges against Zuma relating to the arms deal were filed but then set aside by the NPA shortly before he successfully ran for president in 2009. Zuma has also survived several motions of no confidence.

Zuma, who was ousted as Head of State, attended a brief preliminary hearing at the high court in Durban.

Thales, which supplied naval vessels as part of the deal, also faces charges of corruption and a company representative from France appeared in court alongside Zuma.

On the face of it Mr Zuma is unperturbed by the latest controversy - he is determined to use every legal avenue available to him to fight the corruption charges.

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Mr Zuma denies any wrongdoing and is challenging the decision to prosecute the case, a dramatic development on a continent where political leaders are rarely held to account for their actions before the law.

BE prepared for the long haul, as Jacob Zuma's legal team yesterday provided a possible glimpse of the tactics they will employ to keep the former president from a jail cell. "I can't believe all the lies about me".

Ramaphosa has said that, under the agreement, Zuma will have to reimburse the state if he eventually loses the case.

Wearing a dark suit with a red tie, Zuma was greeted by the low chant of "Zuma!"

However, this time around the party led by the new president Cyril Ramaphosa has reportedly distanced itself from the controversy as the party prepares to contest the national elections in a year's time.

"Hands off RET (radical economic transformation), hands off Zuma", read one brandished placard.

Zane Mlaba, a local ANC activist, described party leaders who called on members not to rally around Zuma "traitors".

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