South Africa’s Zuma due in court to face corruption charges

Former South African President, Jacob Zuma

The trial of South Africa’s former president, Jacob Zuma, on decade-old corruption charges, alongside French arms company Thales, is due to resume on Tuesday.If Zuma arrives at the high court in the eastern city of Pietermaritzburg, that is.

In February, a judge issued a stayed warrant for his arrest after he failed to appear, citing illness.

The court, however, rejected his “sick note” saying he would have to provide adequate proof at his next appearance.

The trial date was postponed to May 6 but then delayed again because of coronavirus safety regulations.

If he does not appear in court on Tuesday or fails to provide an adequate reason, he faces being arrested.

The legal saga dates back to 1999 over alleged kickbacks in a multibillion-dollar arms deal.

The deal, with co-accused Thales, was overseen by Zuma when he was vice president of the country.

Zuma’s lawyers argue that charges against the 78-year-old should be dropped due to political interference and an unreasonable delay in prosecution.

But the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said there was a clear public interest in ensuring the prosecution and no evidence of political motivation for the charges.

In 2007, Zuma was charged with 16 counts of racketeering, corruption, money laundering and fraud.

The charges – relating to 783 payments in connection to Thales – were dropped before he became president in 2009.

In early 2018 the NPA served a fresh indictment, deciding Zuma must face trial.