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Zuma appears in court to face corruption charges

Published : 20 May 2019, 20:16

  DF-Xinhua Report

Former South African president Jacob Zuma. File Photo Xinhua.

Former South African president Jacob Zuma appeared in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Monday to face corruption charges.

During a four-day proceedings, a full bench of judges will hear Zuma's application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

Zuma's advocate Muzi Sikhakhane argued in court that the case against his client is "politically motivated" and therefore must be dismissed.

Sikhakhane said what Zuma had been accused of didn't justify his treatment with less humanity and outside the bounds of the Constitution.

Zuma was being targeted because society didn't like what he had been accused of, Sikhakhane said, calling this mob justice.

A crowd of people gathered outside the court to show support for Zuma.

Zuma addressed the crowd after the first day of proceedings wrapped up.

"There is no case against me and there never will be. They failed for 15 years to charge me and they can't. It's clear this is politically motivated," Zuma said.

He said his lawyers have argued that what has happened to him is like the way people were charged in the apartheid era.

"You can't build a respectable case and in the other hand conspire to charge an innocent citizen like Zuma," Zuma said.

In March last year, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) reinstated corruption charges against Zuma, which had been dropped in the early 2000s and paved the way for Zuma to become president in 2009.

The charges are related to a multi-billion-rand arms deal with European countries in the late 1990s, which Zuma has completely denied.

The prosecution alleges that Zuma took advantage of his position in the government to help businessman Schabir Shaik in his commercial dealings.

Shaik was convicted in 2008 to 15 years in prison for his involvement in facilitating a bribe for Zuma from French arms manufacturer Thint in exchange for political protection during the investigation into the arms deal.

Zuma's supporters argued that the initial decision to scrap the charges against Zuma was correct and should have been upheld.