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Jacob Zuma charged with corruption, linked to 90's arms deal

Jacob Zuma charged with corruption, linked to 90's arms deal

South Africa's former president Jacob Zuma has appeared in court to face corruption charges linked to an arms deal that dates back to before he became the country's leader.

In the case, which is officially known as "the State v Zuma", the former president is referred to "accused number one".

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.

The NPA later that year dropped the charges on a technicality.

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

Addressing a crowd of around 5 000 supporters who had turned out for his appearance on corruption, money laundering and racketeering charges over payments totalling R1.38-million from convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik, Zuma said he was "innocent until proven otherwise". While a lengthy court battle is expected, the spectacle of Zuma appearing before a judge less than two months after his resignation was a victory for opposition figures and activists who have fought for years to call him to account.

The expected court appearance of Zuma had been hailed by South Africa civil society and trade unions which includes the powerful National Union of Metal Workers (NUMSA).

The 75-year-old arrived at the court in his home province on Friday morning, smiling and giving a thumbs up to the crowd. But he later mocked and ridiculed the corruption case, telling his supporters that he was being persecuted for his advocacy of radical economic policies and land reform.

Brazil's Lula Must Face Prison Term, says Supreme Court
Despite the conviction and several other corruption charges against him, da Silva leads all preference polls for the election. Last July, Mr. da Silva was convicted on corruption and money laundering charges and sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison.

Zuma - forced to resign just seven weeks ago - sat in the dock as about a thousand cheering supporters rallied outside, reflecting a case that has raised passions and dug political divisions. Zuma's backers have long argued that, while other ANC officials implicated in the arms deal were never charged, Zuma was singled out for political reasons. Zuma has also survived several motions of no confidence.

That is something Mr Zuma's local supporters are threatening to leverage.

On his arrival they chanted "Zuma!"

But Durban city centre was a sea of black, green and gold, as well as T-shirts with a photograph of a smiling Mr Zuma.

Back when apartheid government was losing its grip on power, infighting between the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) threatened the so-called reconciliation process.

What is Mr Zuma's alleged involvement?

Jacob Zuma has always been the victim.


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