The fraud and corruption trial of former President Jacob Zuma and French arms company, Thales, has been adjourned to May 26, 2021, where Zuma will submit a plea at the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
Zuma and Thales face fraud, corruption, racketeering and money laundering charges in connection with the 1999 multi-billion rand arms deal.
He has previously indicated that he will plead not guilty.
Some African National Congress (ANC) leaders including the suspended Secretary-General Ace Magashule and suspended former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo attended the proceedings.
Supporters of Zuma also arrived at the Court singing struggle songs.
Roads leading to the Pietermaritzburg High Court have been closed to traffic due to Zuma supporters chanting songs on the streets across the CBD.
Some of these supporters are from Mpumalanga, North West and KwaZulu Natal. They are dressed in ANC regalia and say they will always be behind Zuma because he’s innocent until proven otherwise by the court.
Former President Jacob Zuma, Thales corruption trial
The National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa (NPA) said its first witness, Minister Patricia De Lille, was ready to take the stand in the corruption trial.
De Lille was a whistle-blower in the alleged corruption that unfolded in the multibillion-rand 1999 arms deal and had back then called for parliament to investigate her claims.
Permission has been extended to the media to broadcast the trial live.
Analysis of Zuma, Thales case
Zuma is facing 16 charges, which include 783 payments Thales allegedly made to him.
Zuma’s convicted former financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, allegedly solicited bribes on behalf of Zuma from Thint, as Thales was known at the time.