Former South African president Jacob Zuma’s corruption case resumes

Former South African President Jacob Zuma looks on in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, May 20, 2019, JACKIE CLAUSEN/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Former South African President Jacob Zuma looks on in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg during his trial for alleged corruption. (Photo credit JACKIE CLAUSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

The corruption case against former South African president Jacob Zuma resumed on Tuesday following sustained efforts by the former leader to cancel or delay the case.

Zuma, who ruled South Africa between 2009 and 2018, is facing several charges of racketeering, fraud, corruption and money laundering.

The charges are in connection with a controversial $2 billion arms deal with French defence firm Thales in 1999, when he was deputy president.

Zuma, 78, is accused of accepting $34,000 (500,000 rand) annually from Thales from 1999 in return for shielding the firm from an investigation into the agreement. He has denied all the allegations terming them a political witch hunt.

The charges were reinstituted in March 2018 a month after he was forced to resign from office following intense pressure from the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Zuma’s pre-trial hearing was conducted at the Kwa-Zulu Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg and concentrated on setting a trial date for the former president.

The presiding judge, Dhaya Pillay, adjourned the case until September 8 and did not set a trial date to start.

Towards the end of last year, Zuma’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution was dismissed and he subsequently filed an appeal against the decision, a move lawyers for the state said was simply a delaying tactic.

In February, the High Court issued a warrant of arrest against the former president for failing to appear in court but it was stayed until May 6.