Zuma is accused of accepting bribes to thwart an investigation into wrongdoing by a French arms company. He has repeatedly denied the allegations.

The charges of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering were dismissed by a high court judge last year.

But the appeals court overturned that decision in January.

'Political interference'

Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith, reporting from Johannesburg, said claims that prosecutors have secret recordings of Thabo Mbeki, the former South African president, pushing for the corrruption case to be pursued were behind speculation that the charges would be dropped.

"Zuma's defence team ... is not saying there is not a case to answer, it is saying that because of the alleged political interference in his case he should have to come before a court and answer those charges," he said.     

About 20 supporters of the Congress of the People (Cope), which broke away from the ANC last year, danced and sang outside the national prosecutors' office on Monday demanding that Zuma face trial.
   
"Comrade JZ must face his day in court. He has been tried in a secret office but the public deserves to know the merits of the case," Mgcini Tshwaku, the Cope youth secretary, said.

Tlali Tlali, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman, said he was "baffled" by media speculation that the NPA was part of a cover-up to protect Zuma, saying it would explain the reasons for whatever decision it announced.   

Zuma was deputy president for six years before he was sacked in 2005 by Mbeki, the then-president, after being implicated in a trial that saw his former financial adviser convicted of fraud and corruption charges.

In May 2006, Zuma was acquitted of rape charges.