Defiant Zuma blasts critics after brief court appearance

South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma (pictured) on Friday proclaimed his innocence after he made a brief appearance in a Durban court for a preliminary hearing of corruption charges against him.

Shrugging off his foes and legal woes, a smiling Zuma greeted a large cheering crowd gathered outside the court.

Zuma said he is being targeted because of his stand on radical economic transformation. A case, which was dropped 13 years ago, has been revived by opposition parties to project him as guilty.

They took the legal route because they do not have the guts to debate the issue in parliament.  Anyway the truth will come out and they will be exposed, Zuma said.

The hearing was adjourned to June 8.

Zuma is facing 16 charges relating to 783 payments he allegedly received in connection with a controversial arms deal.

Prosecutor Billy Downer told Judge Themba Sishi that the prosecution would be ready to proceed by November 12.

Zuma’s legal team would make an application to review the decision by National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams.

In 2009, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) charged Zuma before he ran for president. The NPA later dropped the charges on a technicality and Zuma won the presidency.

In 2016, South Africa’s High Court reinstated the charges. Last year, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Zuma, saying the NPA’s decision to drop the charges was “irrational.”