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Corruption trial of former South African president to resume

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Corruption trial of former South African president to resume

Jacob zuma trial
Photo: AP

The corruption trial of former South African President Jacob Zuma is set to resume today.

Zuma, who was president from 2009-2018, is facing 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering in connection to the governments multi-billion dollar arms deal with French arms company Thales, dating back to the 1990s.  Zuma is accused of accepting $35,000 annually from Thales, however he and Thales have denied any wrongdoing.

Zuma presided over an immense system of corruption and patronage, until the African National Congress (ANC) forced him out of office in 2018. His successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, has launched an anti-corruption crackdown, placing corruption charges on several senior officials.

The high-profile trial represents an important bellwether for South Africa’s democratic institutions. Recent allegations surrounding misuses of the government’s COVID-19 funds have fueled public outrage against corruption to unprecedented levels. Further, Zuma’s case has become a battleground for factions within the ANC, as many senior ANC figures accused of corruption remain aligned with him. A conviction would be a significant success for Ramphosa’s crackdown, allowing him to regain public confidence in the state’s institutions. Yet expect Zuma to ask for further postponement, given that his legal team stopped representing him in April 2021.

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