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Trial of S.Africa's ex-leader Zuma on arms deal corruption charges to resume

WORLD
By Reuters | July 19th 2021

Former South African president Jacob Zuma speaks to supporters who gathered at his home, as South African court agreed to hear his challenge to a 15-month jail term for failing to attend a corruption hearing, in Nkandla, South Africa, July 4, 2021. [Reuters]

Former South African president Jacob Zuma, whose jailing earlier this month triggered riots, is expected to appear virtually on Monday for the latest hearing in a trial related to an arms deal corruption case.

Proceedings are due to start later in the morning at Pietermaritzburg High Court.

While the security situation has largely been brought under control, there are fears that Zuma's latest court appearance could once again trigger protests from his support base.

Zuma handed himself over to start a 15-month prison sentence this month for failing to appear at an inquiry into corruption during his nine years in power until 2018 - a separate case to the current trial.

Following his imprisonment, protests flared up in his home province KwaZulu-Natal which escalated into rampant looting, arson and riots, and spread to Gauteng province. More than 200 people were killed. 

Zuma faces multiple charges of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering over a $2 billion arms deal involving French company Thales (then known as Thomson-CSF), when Zuma was deputy president. 

Zuma and Thales both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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