Former South African President Jacob Zuma will appear in the court on Tuesday over corruption charges, reported The South African. This would be his first graft trial despite multiple accusations.
After several attempts to dodge the trial, Zuma will finally appear before a High Court in the southern eastern city of Pietermaritzburg regarding a case in which he allegedly profited four million rand ($270,000).
The former president faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering related to the 1990s arms deal struck when he was deputy president to Thabo Mbeki. He is accused of taking kickbacks from a 51-billion-rand ($3.4bn) purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment manufactured by five European firms, including French defence company Thales.
Notably, Zuma was forced resign as president last year by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) following his nine-year stance marred by corruption allegations and diminishing popularity.
The embattled former President has previously argued for the case to be struck off the roll saying that the charges levied against him were politically motivated and that the unreasonable delays in prosecuting him have prejudiced him.
Zuma’s appearance in the could on Tuesday could be a brief one as it is likely that he would appeal against last week’s ruling that he stand trial. He is expected to appear alongside representatives of Thales, which is accused of paying the bribes. Both Zuma and Thales deny the charges.
“His strategy has always been to delay the case,” said political analyst Prince Mashele. “He does not want this day in court. When this case began, this man was in his 60s. He was been out of prison for more than 10 years. He will try his best to make sure it doesn’t proceed.”
It is believed that if Zuma goes on trial, he will drag down with him many leaders of Nelson Mandela’s ANC, which has governed the country since the end of apartheid in 1994.