Jacob Zuma set to appear in court over corruption charges

Activists laud Zuma's expected court appearance even as some South Africans claim former president is being victimised.

    Zuma faces 16 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering [Reuters]
    Zuma faces 16 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering [Reuters]

    Jacob ZumaSouth Africa's former president, will appear at the Durban High Court on Friday to face more than a dozen corruption charges that date back to a fraught $2.5bn arms deal in the mid 1990s.

    At least 2,000 supporters of the former president are also expected to turn up to the proceedings and protest against the charges levelled at him.

    Those defending Zuma argue that the courts are compromised and biased against him.

    Zuma, 75, faces 16 charges of corruption, racketeering and fraud, including taking bribes from a French arms manufacturer in a set of accusations that have long dogged his political career.

    The French manufacturer will also be charged with corruption. Company representatives are expected to appear in court alongside Zuma.

    He lied to workers. He pretended to care about the working class. Zuma and the ANC will go down in history as having sold out the working class

    Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, Numsa spokesperson 

    Zuma's expected court appearance has been welcomed by South African civil society and trade unions, including the powerful National Union of Metal Workers (NUMSA).

    Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, acting spokesperson for NUMSA, told Al Jazeera that Zuma's court appearance "was well overdue".

    "As Numsa, we welcome the fact that he will be in court. We called for corruption charges to be ventilated in court a long time ago. So we look forward," Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said.

    Likewise, former ANC MP and arms-deal activist Andrew Feinstein told AFP news agency that there was overwhelming evidence against Zuma and that he "should find himself in jail".

    In February, Zuma resigned as president of South Africa following weeks of public pressure to step down amid long-standing corruption allegations.

    However, Zuma continues to command immense support among some South Africans, with thousands expected to attend a pro-Zuma march on Friday.

    On Thursday, members of the Black First Land First (BLF) party are expected to hold a vigil for Zuma outside the court.

    Conflicting claims

    BLF has long maintained that Zuma has being victimised for trying to transform the economy and improve the lives of the poor.

    But Hlubi-Majola of NUMSA says that Zuma's touted interest in the working class has always been a facade.

    "He lied to workers. 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.

    For its part, the African National Congress (ANC) has distanced itself from the proceedings.

    The ANC's decision to steer clear of Zuma is in stark contrast to its previous public displays of support and defense of Zuma during the 2006 rape trial and previous attempts to charge him for corruption.

    Zuma became president in 2009 shortly after the charges were first dropped. Civil society and opposition parties have worked tirelessly to have the charges reinstated.

    He has always denied any wrongdoing.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Musta'ribeen, Israel's agents who pose as Palestinians

    Who are the Israeli agents posing as Palestinians?

    Musta'ribeen are an elite Israeli undercover unit that disguises themselves as Arabs or Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

     How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    100 years since Balfour's "promise", Palestinians insist that their rights in Palestine cannot be dismissed.