South Africa's ex-President Jacob Zuma charged with corruption

FILE Former ANC president Jacob Zuma sings at the ANC's 54th national conference on 18 December 2017

FILE Former ANC president Jacob Zuma sings at the ANC's 54th national conference on 18 December 2017

Zuma and Guerrier are not out on bail, because they were summoned to court on the agreement of lawyers.

A young traditional dancer in full warrior costume and clutching a shield took to the stage following Zuma to entertain the crowd after he addressed them in his native Zulu language.

South Africa's former president, Jacob Zuma, appeared in court on Friday to face corruption charges relating to a 2.5 billion USA dollars arms deal.

Meanwhile, Zuma's legal representative said they meant to file an application to review the decision by NPA boss Shaun Abrahams to prosecute him.

"The burden of a black man is hard", Mr. Zuma told his supporters.

It would seem Mr Zuma, in part, believes so too.

"I don't think we will see Zuma's criminal trial start or reach a conclusion this year", said William Booth, the head of the South African Law Society's criminal division.

He said the case had been reinstated for political reasons.

The message resonates among many people who resent the fact that much of the economy remains in the hands of the white minority despite the advent of democracy.

A group, including religious, business and political leaders have expressed their support for the former president.

Zuma stated that he would be proven innocent in a corruption case against him and his opponents were telling lies.

"People are lucky we can't beat them up anymore‚ otherwise I would have beaten up a lot of people".

And that is the sentiment of the supporters here who had composed songs in honour of the former statesman.

"Why am I being treated as if I'm guilty?" he said. He sat roughly a metre distant from his co-accused in the dock: Christine Guerrier, the unlucky woman seconded by French arms company Thales to represent the firm.

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The proceedings got under way at 9.30am, but were over after about 10 minutes.

Judge Themba Sishi told Mr Zuma to come back to court on 8 June. Zuma countered with his own legal challenges.

Zuma is accused in court of having had a "generally corrupt" relationship with Shaik.

Many thought this was just talk - especially after the appointment of current NDPP Shaun Abrahams, nicknamed here "Shaun the sheep". Zuma looked across at Guerrier for the first time. They include: Willies Mchunu (premier of KwaZulu-Natal), Sihle Zikalala and Super Zuma.

But there is a new man in charge: Cyril Ramaphosa.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) laid corruption charges against the Guptas and Zuma's son Duduzane.

Zuma has claimed the inquiry proved there was "not a single iota" of evidence for wrongdoing. Ramaphosa and his allies have made fighting corruption a priority before national elections scheduled for 2019.

Mr Ramaphosa came in on a ticket of clean governance and his party can not afford another scandal.

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

Zuma addressed hundreds of his supporters clad in ANC regalia.

But Durban city centre was a sea of black, green and gold, as well as T-shirts with a photograph of a smiling Mr Zuma.

Mr Zuma's remaining supporters argue that he is being targeted for backing a radical economic reform agenda. "All this will delay the day Zuma is asked to plead to the charges", he said. "But we fought for freedom".

- March 2018: Prosecutors decide he should face 12 counts of fraud, two of corruption, one of racketeering and one of money laundering.

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