Zuma addresses his supporters after court date

Zuma addresses his supporters after court date

After the case was postponed, religious leaders who attended the case in support of Zuma formed a guard of honour as he walked out of the court.

The BBC's Andrew Harding says the former president appearing in court on corruption charges is hugely symbolic for South Africa's young democracy.

Sooklal followed the high-level diplomatic manoeuvering, political pressure and backroom deals made over the six years in which the deal was being negotiated and delivered. Judge Themba Sishi said Zuma was free "on warning".

His years of governance tainted the image of South Africa - a country which was once the leading African nation in nearly every aspect.

The deal involved companies from Germany, Italy, Sweden, the UK, France and South Africa.

"The prosecution is because they don't want to give our land back". We called for corruption charges to be ventilated in court a long time ago.

Addressing supporters outside the courthouse Friday, Zuma criticized the charges as politically motivated. Zuma told the cheering crowd.

The Democratic Alliance on Friday welcomed the Presidency's decision to withdraw the appeal against the court ruling ordering former president Jacob Zuma to personally pay the legal costs for trying to block the release of the State of Capture report.

Wearing a dark suit with a red tie, Zuma was greeted by the low chant of "Zuma!"

More news: Ex-South Korean leader Park gets 24-year prison term

He denied the allegations and the case was later dropped. That application - should it fail - is likely to be followed by an application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

Once in the dock, Zuma waved and gestured his thanks to supporters seated in the court room.

His financial adviser at the time, Schabir Shaik, was convicted of corruption in the case in 2005 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Sooklal said the scandal had been closely monitored in Paris.

"It's a gathering of South Africans who correctly believe in the innocence of the former president".

Zuma's transition from "Mr. President" to "Accused Number One" in less than two months is a significant setback for the 75-year-old, whose nine years in office were marked by economic stagnation and credit downgrades.

Sooklal has sought the payment of fees that he said were owed to him by Thales but his claim was rejected.

State advocate Billy Downer, SC, said the prosecution was ready for the trial.

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