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South Africa ex-President Jacob Zuma charged with corruption

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South Africa ex-President Jacob Zuma charged with corruption

DURBAN, South Africa, Apr 6 – South African former president Jacob Zuma arrived at court in the port city of Durban on Friday to face corruption charges linked to a multi-billion dollar 1990s arms deal.

Zuma, 75, smiled broadly and gave a thumbs-up as he walked up steps into the Durban High Court building, where he will appear at a brief preliminary hearing on the case.

Several hundred Zuma supporters rallied outside to protest against his prosecution, which comes after he resigned from office in February under mounting pressure from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.

It is expected that Zuma will be formally charged with 16 counts of corruption, money laundering and fraud.

“He might have his own mistakes, but we say allow the old man to retire in peace. It is a conspiracy, it’s politically motivated,” pro-Zuma business manager Sphelele Ngwane, 29, told AFP.

On Thursday night more than 100 ardent backers rallied in Albert park in a gritty suburb of Durban to protest his innocence and demand a halt to the prosecution.

“There is an unfairness in the judiciary,” warned bishop Timothy Ngcobo, one of the organisers of Thursday’s gathering.

The protesters sang liberation-era songs including “Umshini Wam”, meaning “Bring me my machine gun”, which Zuma often sang at ANC rallies and gatherings.

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