South Africa: Jacob Zuma dismisses ′politically motivated′ charges | Africa | DW | 06.04.2018
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South Africa: Jacob Zuma dismisses 'politically motivated' charges

South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma has proclaimed his innocence after appearing in a preliminary hearing into corruption charges. He told supporters outside court that the charges were politically motivated.

The former president appeared before thousands of supporters immediately after the hearing in Durban, claiming that his name was being "dragged through the mud."

"The truth will come out. What have I done?" said Zuma, speaking in Zulu to the crowd in his home Kwa-Zulu Natal province.

"I am innocent until proven guilty, but there are people who want to treat me like I am guilty," he said.

The allegations include fraud, racketeering, and money laundering. The charges, linked to an arms deal in the 1990s when Zuma was deputy president, were recently reinstated after being rejected nearly a decade ago.

Read more: South Africa: The rise and fall of the ANC

At the preliminary hearing, Zuma's own legal team and lawyers for the state agreed to postpone proceedings until June 8. Judge Themba Sishi said Zuma was free "on warning."

Details of the case:

  • In 2009, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) charged Zuma before he ran for president.
  • The NPA later that year dropped the charges on a technicality. Zuma went on to win the presidency.
  • In 2016, South Africa's High Court reinstated the charges. Last year, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Zuma, saying the NPA's decision to drop the charges was "irrational."
  • According to officials, Zuma is set to be charged with 16 counts of corruption relating to 783 instances of alleged wrongdoing.

Zuma resigned as president on February 14 this year and was replaced by his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, who has promised to take a firm stance against corruption. The resignation paved the way for his prosecution.

Read more: Opinion: South Africa's lost decade

Ramaphosa also seeks to restore the standing of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the reputation of which has suffered as a result of a number of scandals.

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rc/msh (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

 

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