South Africa-Politics-Corruption

Zuma appears in court, claims witch hunt against him

APA-Pietermaritzburg (South Africa)

Former South African president Jacob Zuma has labelled the corruption trial against him as a politically-motivated witch hunt, saying Monday that his lawyers would show the court how the state prosecutors conspired to stop him from becoming president in the mid-2000s.

Speaking after a full day in court on Monday, Zuma told hundreds of supporters outside the court that “those who were meant to be here as witnesses against me have even forgotten their testimony.”

“And some have died," he told the supporters outside the Kwazulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

He added: "We are now arguing that if this trial continues, it's just a witch hunt. We can’t have a trial based on this. We argue this trial is not fresh and witnesses have died and the presiding judges have retired."

He said his rights had been "trampled" on and that the case against him was tainted. 

"No trial has gone on for this long. I am charged one day and the charges are dropped the next day. It has never happened" in the past, he said.

Zuma is being accused of taking bribes in an arms procurement deal to replace old equipment for the country’s navy, and a French company, Thales, is attending the court proceedings as a co-accused.

Both parties have denied wrongdoing. Case continues on Tuesday.

NM/jn/APA

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