Former South African leader Zuma to face corruption charges

Former president Jacob Zuma poses for a selfie with a Simon Hodgson in a Kulula flight

South Africa's former President Jacob Zuma has been charged with corruption over an arms deal going back to the 1990s.

"This matter is adjourned to 8th June 2018 which is a provisional date and the two accused before court are released on warning", said Judge Themba Sishi.

Zuma, who came to power as president shortly after the charges were first dropped in 2009, has always denied any wrongdoing.

Thousands of Zuma supporters were expected to march to the court in solidarity with a leader they say is the victim of a politically-motivated witchhunt.

Although Downer said authorities were ready to proceed with a trial in November, the challenge and request for a stay of prosecution could each take months, especially if appeals are pursued. On the same day Zuma, then a provincial minister, meets with his personal financial advisor Schabir Shaik and an official from French arms dealer Thomson-CSF.

Zuma could face several years in prison.

The former president's supporters have reportedly descended on the city to rally for him.

Some of the roads around the grand court building had been cordoned off, while a large stage was erected by Mr Zuma's supporters a few metres from the courthouse.

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In a meeting of the wounded, Zuma's political allies from various ANC structures packed the small venue.

His supporters, many dressed in the green and gold of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, gathered to chant and sing slogans as court proceedings got underway.

Zuma's successor Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to crack down on government corruption, which he has admitted is a serious problem.

"They want to shut my mouth", he said, calling for radical economic transformation and the return of land from white people to black South Africans.

Zuma stated that he would be proven innocent in a corruption case against him and his opponents were telling lies.

The case is unlikely to be heard before the end of this year, according to legal experts, given Mr Zuma is challenging the decision to prosecute him. It argues Mr Zuma was unceremoniously removed from his position as party leader and president to protect white business interests.

The charges were reinstated in 2016 as his grip on the ANC weakened.

Zuma said he was being treated like a prisoner, even by the people he trusted and that just because he was charged did not mean he was guilty.

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