Former South African President Jacob Zuma’s court proceedings were pushed back to February 4 on Tuesday after his legal team stated that they were going to appeal against the ruling that dismissed his attempt to halt prosecution on the charges of corruption.
Zuma faces charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering related to a 1999 arms deal. The former president is accused of receiving bribes from French arms manufacturer Thales through his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik, who in 2005 was convicted of fraud and corruption. It is believed that he profited four million rand ($270,000) from the kickbacks.
Zuma who denies any wrongdoing, has argued that the case has been prejudiced by long delays and that there has been political interference in his prosecution.
His legal team has until the end of this month to appeal last week’s High Court ruling, which found that the allegations against him were serious.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) party forced Zuma to resign as president last year after a nine-year reign marred by corruption allegations and diminishing popularity and also putting the image of the party at stake.
Analysts have warned that if Zuma goes on trial, he will drag down with him many leaders of Nelson Mandela’s ANC, which has governed the country since the end of apartheid in 1994.
Zuma has also been accused of overseeing the mass looting of state assets during his nine-year presidency of the South African people.
The wealthy Indian-born Gupta business family is high on the list of alleged benefactors, who were accused of unfairly obtaining lucrative government contracts and even influencing Zuma’s ministerial appointments.
Thuli Madonsela the former head of the anti-corruption watchdog task force accused Zuma of being an integral player who opened the doors for individuals and private companies to loot state resources.
Zuma however denies all the allegations and says that there is an agenda against him “I have been vilified, alleged to be the king of corrupt people,” he said, adding that he had been the victim of “character assassination over 20 years”.
Author: Moses Echodu
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