Former South Africa leader Zuma in court to face corruption charges

Former South Africa leader Zuma in court to face corruption charges

South Africa's former President Jacob Zuma has been charged with corruption linked to a 1990s arms deal, says a BBC News report on Friday.

From the country's president just two months ago to accused number one - a dramatic turn of events for the man who at times seemed untouchable. He faces 16 counts of corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering.

Wearing a dark suit, a smiling Zuma waved to crowds of supporters and reporters as he mounted the steps of the High Court in Durban. Judge Themba Sishi approved the request.

"It amazes me when people treat me as if I've given up". He has assured his supporters, who gathered in front of the court chanting "Hands off Zuma", that he would be proven innocent.

Zuma, who has always said he wanted his day in court, denies any wrongdoing.

However, Zuma still retains some popular support, especially in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal, where the case is being heard.

The dispute over the fees represents a larger problem for the governing party, the African National Congress, or ANC, which must determine how strongly to back Zuma during his corruption trial.

When he left court, he sang an apartheid-era song and told a cheering crowd that he was innocent of the charges, which resurfaced after he was forced from office earlier this year.

Heavily-armed police in riot gear looked on.

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

Accused number two, arms manufacturer Thales South Africa, also meant to make representations to the National Director of Public Prosecutions on why it should not be prosecuted in the multibillion dollar arms deal scandal which first surfaced in the late 1990s.

Fallout has cast a shadow over South African politics ever since.

While he was president, Zuma appealed that ruling.

Mr Zuma might enjoy great support but he cast a lonely figure inside the courtroom earlier, where he sat as an accused in the dock alongside a representative of his co-accused, the French arms company Thales.

The company is facing charges in the same case.

The corruption allegations were previously filed against Zuma but were dropped prior to his presidential run in 2009.

Rogan Ward / Reuters Supporters of Jacob Zuma march to the high court in Durban.

It seems Jacob Zuma's legal woes keep mounting.

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