Zuma proclaims innocence after court appearance

The trial has been adjourned till June 8 so that submissions can be prepared.
Zuma leads a crowd of his supporters in song. Picture: Reuters

Former president Jacob Zuma appeared in court on Friday to face corruption charges relating to a R30.1 billion arms deal, later telling a crowd he would be proven innocent in the long-running case that resurfaced after his fall from power.

Zuma‘s transition from “Mr. President” to “Accused Number One” in less than two months is a significant setback for the 75-year-old, whose nine years in office were marked by economic stagnation and credit downgrades.

He faces 16 charges including fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

In a procedural appearance that lasted less than 15 minutes, state prosecutors and Zuma‘s lawyers asked the Durban High Court to adjourn the case until June 8 so both sides could prepare submissions. Judge Themba Sishi approved the request.

A potential trial would take several more months to prepare.

Zuma later made a rousing speech from a podium outside the Durban court, telling thousands of supporters that his opponents were telling lies and the judiciary and politicians believed that he did not have rights.

He said he was hated for championing policies to improve the lives of the country’s black majority.

“It amazes me when people treat me as if I’ve given up. They want me to be treated as a prisoner,” Zuma told the cheering crowd, flanked by family members and religious leaders who offered blessings before he spoke.

“I can’t believe all the lies that are said about me. I am innocent until proven guilty,” he added, speaking in Zulu in his home KwaZulu-Natal province.

Zuma denies any wrongdoing and is challenging the decision to prosecute the case, a dramatic development on a continent where political leaders are rarely held to account for their actions before the law.

The speed with which prosecutors have booked his day in court is a sign of the loss of control Zuma has suffered since his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, became head of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in December.

Zuma, who has never lost the ability to rouse a crowd with traditional song and dance, still retains some popular support, especially in his Zulu heartland.

He led the crowd on Friday in a rendition of “Umshini wami,” a song made popular by the ANC’s armed wing during South Africa’s decades-long struggle against apartheid and which translates as “Bring my machine gun”.

Heavily-armed police in riot gear looked on.

“Hands off Zuma”

Marchers, many clad in the distinctive gold, green and black of the ANC, carried placards reading “Hands off Zuma” and “Champion of Radical Economic Transformation”.

They said they would come out in force for Zuma‘s next court appearance in June and that the former president was the target of a politically motivated witchhunt.

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 travelled over 150 km to support Zuma.

Bishop Ndlela, of the United Methodist Church, said religious leaders attended Friday’s rally to show Zuma that he was not alone.

Read: Supporters to march in support of Zuma at court appearance

Zuma, forced to resign by the ANC last month, was at the center of a 1990’s deal to buy billions of dollars of European military hardware to upgrade South Africa’s post-apartheid armed forces.

But the deal was mired in scandal and controversy from the start, with many inside and outside the ANC questioning the spending given the massive social problems, from health to education, Nelson Mandela’s party had to address after coming to power in 1994.

The affair has cast a shadow over South African politics ever since.

Zuma was deputy president at the time. Schabir Shaikh, his former financial adviser, was found guilty and jailed in 2005 for trying to solicit bribes for Zuma from a subsidiary of French arms company Thales.

The company is facing charges in the same case.

Charges against Zuma were filed but then set aside by the National Prosecuting Authority shortly before he successfully ran for president in 2009. After his election, his opponents fought a lengthy legal battle to have the charges reinstated, finally succeeding in 2016. Zuma countered with his own legal challenges.

Additional reporting by Joe Brock, Alexander Winning, Ed Cropley and Vuyani Ndaba

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You can sing. You can dance. But your still going to jail. He he he he he he he he.

As they say in old Mexico . . . . . . .
Pedro, you can steal as much as you like – BUT DON’T GET CAUGHT !
Looks like Jacob has committed the cardinal sin, he got caught!

What I can’t fathom is how the justice system works – both parties agree to postpone until June 8th. If the charge sheet is the same as that as submitted in 2005 and then cancelled by a flunky in 2008/2009 why is there a necessity to defer the cases.
Surely the opposing counsels know the context of their cases (for and against) they could have made opening statements today and started proceedings next week.
At times like this the law is an ass, and deserve to be roundly criticized – after all each and every taxpayer has been defrauded and yet they are also suffering from these delaying tactics – justice needs to be served with a dash of speed

Pollsmoor shower is waiting for you old pal. No Vaseline

guilty or not…..as an old man who had all that influence, I would hang my head in shame.

Who speaks English like this, “i am innocent, until proven guilty.’ I can tell you that Zuma is engaging in this ‘funny speak’ because it reveals unconsciously what he is trying to hide. What I am saying is that, this is in effect, is a lapsus linguae (slip of the tongue) on his part. Zuma is telling us that: ‘you have to tell me you know exactly what I did’. Innocent people just say, that ‘I am wrongfully accused, and I can’t wait to clear my name in court’ or the say simply: ‘I am innocent’ and they move on. They don’t start by demonizing the court and point point a finger towards everybody except themselves. That is not what Zuma is saying. If he is innocent, he should not be racheting the ante with not so sublimal threats, he should be the one who encourages people to respect the law and trust that our courts and believe like we are supposed to that the law is good and will prove his innocence.

Nxamala, Msholozi,, keep the momentum,, you will be cleared in good time. We know their agenda, and no matter how much rubble and mud they sling at your perssona,, nothing is gonna stick. My President (former)..
.

Love your positivity. Just a pity it is delusional, but anyway, keep up the good work LOL

How anyone can support this monumental disgrace to humanity heaven only knows. Hasn’t this man been given enough room by the ANC to destruct and destroy? Here’s what I struggle with: He wanted his day in court and now that he got it he stokes tensions and makes outrageous to support his victim mentality. I have just finished reading a book called ‘Why Nations Fail’ and it as if Zuma was actively practicing everything this book says about how monsters destroy countries.

The people of South Africa do know who is ripping the country and the people off!!

Unfortunately we have all become slaves to the system that the current ANC regime has jeopardised and put us in a serious downward spiral.

There is still no end in mind and nobody seems to provide a road map of how this picture will look in 1,5,10 and 20 years from now……., but you will definitely feel it going out of your pocket each month from now to remind you who you voted for, whist the regime strips your hard earned cash from you each day, month and year going forward, the unsustainable increases at every corner of the system, till the next years fuel levy and Tax.

Assuming the ANC Government collects R 1.67 Trillion p/a, Spends 670 Billion on itself, and divides R 1 Trillion between 55 million people that is approx. R18 000 each. R 1 515 per month per person. If Gov shares the land each person gets approx. 20 000 sqm, then what?

Every day a child is born, it’s another piece of land that has to be made available, makes a person wonder?

Even if Government shares 1,22 trillion m² equally with approx. 55 mill people is 22,181 thousand m² each. e.g. in 20 to 30 years time Gov will have to share land again as the population may have doubled. So Gov will take all our land and your money and divide it again. How else will they solve it? Unless they start printing more cash….?

South Africans have served their 23 year sentence under lies and deceitful Government, however, we will pull together to create a better future for all. South Africans should stand up and take their power back together and build a great country, we are all tired of the racial polarisation, hard earned cash going down the drain.

Makes us wonder!!

In a (supposed) civilized country we should not be in favour of public execution but in this case we should make an exception for a corrupt ‘political colonialist’.

One of Life’s Great Mysteries: why an innocent man, who “wants his day in court” stole so much money from the state to delay his trial for stealing from the state.

The worst part of this debacle is the millions of stupid people who still suppprt this thief. Where are the schools, hospitals, jobs, houses etc that could have been provided to those that vote for his party. The chief has ripped them off and they don’t even know it.

Zuma, like the floater that just won’t flush….

End of comments.

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