Jacob Zuma appears in court charged with corruption

Jacob Zuma appears in court charged with corruption

Jacob Zuma appears in court charged with corruption

Zuma was greeted with cheers and ululations by more than a thousand supporters outside court.

Mr Zuma's home province, KwaZulu-Natal, is the ANC's largest province in terms of membership - it can not afford further rifts here.

Zuma faces 16 counts of corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering, which he has denied. "He pretended to care about the working class. Zuma and the ANC will go down in history as having sold out the working class", Hlubi-Majola said.

But most South Africans see the case as bringing much-needed accountability to the country's politicians, and a more than welcome development after nine years of Zuma administrations marked by economic stagnation and widespread corruption.

The state said it was ready for the trial to begin on November 12.

"Zuma has opened our eyes as black people that the problem is not the government of ANC but the systems in place that prevent black people from benefiting from the economy", said Mondli Mthembu, 32, a laboratory analyst who traveled over 150 km (93 miles) to support Zuma.

One sign of this was defiance of the request by the ANC for none of its members to wear ANC colours if they chose to come and support Mr Zuma. The former leader was recently deployed to KwaZulu-Natal, the province with the biggest number of ANC supporters, to drum up support during a voter-registration drive.

"Some people are acting like I have been convicted, I am innocent until proven guilty", he was quoted by Reuters news agency.

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The chairman of the DA's federal executive James Selfe said the fact that Zuma would now personally pay the legal fees incurred when he sought to stop the release of Thuli Madonsela's "State of Capture" report, which delved into the relationship between the Gupta family and state-owned companies. That's why they take me to court.

To his supporters, it was clear that "they" meant his political enemies.

Thales, which supplied naval vessels as part of the deal, will also be charged with corruption and a company representative appeared in court alongside Zuma.

Zuma was initially charged in 2007 while his greatest political rival, Thabo Mbeki, was president - charges that almost derailed his ambitions to succeed Mbeki. The arms deal totalled 30 billion rand, or $2.5 billion at current exchange rates, and led to what is considered the single biggest instance of public corruption in the history of post-apartheid South Africa.

Fallout has cast a shadow over South African politics ever since.

The case against Zuma has been a long time coming.

"These charges were created as a political plot".

That successfully resurrected Zuma's bid to become president.

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