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In a sign the corruption case against the year-old Zuma could go on for years, prosecutor Billy Downer said Zuma's legal team planned to challenge the legitimacy of the prosecution, which involves the reinstatement of charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering that had been dropped years ago, and to seek a permanent stay.
Although Downer said authorities were ready to proceed with a trial in November, the challenge and request for a stay of prosecution could each take months, especially if appeals are pursued. The case at the Durban courthouse was adjourned until June 8 on the agreement of both parties to enable Zuma's defense legal team to prepare their documents for the challenge. One controversial aspect of Zuma's case is its funding by taxpayers, enabling his lawyers to mount successive appeals and challenges — a legal strategy dubbed in South African media as Zuma's "Stalingrad" approach, a reference to his lawyers' determination to fight for every yard of legal turf, however long it takes.
Zuma looked tense at times, sitting in a dark suit on the court bench behind his lawyers. He is charged with 16 counts of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering in relation to payments he allegedly received as part of a South African arms deal in , when he was deputy president. Also facing prosecution was Thales, a French arms company whose South African affiliate was formerly known as Thint, which was accused of bribing Zuma.
Zuma's appearance so soon after leaving office was striking in a continent with a history of top officials in various countries being criticized for corruption, sometimes running into tens of millions of dollars, but where few ex-presidents have faced justice. Since being ousted by the ANC and then replaced by his former deputy Cyril Ramaphosa in February, Zuma has claimed the prosecution amounts to an attack by political enemies.
Zuma said nothing in his court appearance but spoke to supporters in Zulu on a stage outside the courthouse, saying the charges were political and that he was being persecuted because he had exposed the lack of freedom in South Africa. What have I done? I am innocent until proven guilty," Zuma said.
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He criticized the ANC, which banned his supporters from wearing party colors, clothing and regalia at his trial to support him. He said when he asked for answers about what had been done to him, no one was willing to talk to him. The ANC leadership last month said members could support party figures facing trial, but ordered them not to wear the ANC's green, black and yellow colors.
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It was an order ignored by Zuma's supporters Friday. Zuma told supporters he had been betrayed by people he trusts, an apparent reference to Ramaphosa and his supporters who forced Zuma from power. Language in the News: Mediating Sociopolitical Crises in Nigeria. Labeling and Ideology in the Press: Twittering the Boko Haram Uprising in Nigeria: Investigating Pragmatic Acts in the Social Media. West African English in Digital Discourse.
Meet the former poacher turned celebrated safari tracker in South Africa
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