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

JOHANNESBURG (REUTERS) – Former South African president Jacob Zuma, whose jailing earlier this month triggered riots, is expected to appear virtually on Monday (July 19) 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 US$2 billion (S$2.72 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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