Former President Jacob Zuma has addressed the crowd after his appearance in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday.

Zuma received a warm welcome from his supporters. Speaking in isiZulu, Zuma said the case have dragged for so many years, hence his legal team is applying for a permanent stay of prosecution.

“There are three judges listening to the case, so we will have three opinions about my application of permanent stay of prosecution.”

Zuma, 77, is accused of taking bribes from French defence company Thales during his time as a provincial economy minister and later as deputy president of the African National Congress (ANC) in the 1990s.

He allegedly pocketed around four million rand ($280,000, 250,000 euros) from 783 payments handled by Schabir Shaik, a businessman who acted as his financial adviser.

The charges were first brought against Zuma in 2005 but dropped by prosecutors in 2009, before being reinstated in 2016.

Zuma’s legal counsel Muzi Sikhakhane said that the case was at the “intersection of law and politics” and that Zuma faced “mob justice” and “lynching” due to prejudice against him.

Sikhakhane argued that Zuma’s constitutional right to a prompt trial “had been compromised or violated to the point where we could say ‘a fair trial can never happen’.” -Additional reporting by AFP