Zuma’s corruption trial postponed to September 9

On a two-day state visit in France, former South African President Jacob Zuma makes a statement next to the French President Francois Hollande during a joint press conference at the Elysee Presidential Palace on July 11, 2016 in Paris, France. /Chesnot/Getty Images

The long-running corruption trial of South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma over an arms deal dating back more than two decades was postponed on Tuesday to next month, following his hospitalization last week.

The 79-year-old was admitted to hospital for observation on Friday for an undisclosed medical condition, which prompted Tuesday’s hearing to be held virtually rather than in open court.

“The matter is postponed to 9th and 10th of September, 2021,” Judge Piet Koen declared, pending a medical report on Zuma.

The case has been carrying on for years and suffered a string of holdups.

Wim Trengove, a lawyer representing the state, last month acerbically referred to the postponements as “Stalingrad: Season 27,” apparently referring to an entrenched strategy of delay by the defence.

Tuesday’s hearing was to involve a plea by the defence to remove a state prosecutor and thus have the charges against Zuma dropped.

Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering linked to the 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and equipment from five European arms firms when he was deputy president.

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