Jacob Zuma's supporters drown out corruption charges in South African song

The leader of the Black First Land First Movement Andile Mngxitama alongside Bishop Timothy Ngcobo during a press conference detailing the activities to support former president Jacob Zuma ahead of his court appearance

South Africa's former president, Jacob Zuma, appeared in court on Friday to face corruption charges relating to a 2.5 billion U.S. dollars arms deal.

During the 15-minute hearing, Zuma was not asked to plead but High Judge Themba Sishi said he should appear in court on 8 June after his review application has been examined on 15 May.

The 75-year-old appeared in the high court in Durban this morning to face 16 counts of corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering.

Mr Zuma is accused of taking bribes connected with a $2.5 billion arms deal with Thales, the French defence company, in the 1990s.

The case against Mr Zuma was dropped shortly before he ran for president in 2009.

Meanwhile, Zuma's legal representative said they meant to file an application to review the decision by NPA boss Shaun Abrahams to prosecute him. Zuma has also survived several motions of no confidence.

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.

It can be recalled that the last time Zuma was in court for a trial was more than 10 years ago on rape charges. "It is a conspiracy, it's politically motivated", pro-Zuma business manager Sphelele Ngwane, 29, told AFP. But the deal effectively gives Zuma unlimited access to legal representation and raises the possibility that his case will be tied up in the courts for years.

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He criticized the ANC, which banned his supporters from wearing ANC colors, clothing and regalia at his trial to support him.

Some Zuma supporters gathered near the courthouse in the coastal city of Durban on Friday to declare that the former leader is not guilty.

- December 2007: Zuma is elected president of the ruling African National Congress party.

"Hands off RET (radical economic transformation), hands off Zuma", read one brandished placard.

Zuma's successor Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to crack down on government corruption, which he has admitted is a serious problem.

"I am innocent until proven guilty".

Speaking to his supporters outside the court on Friday, Zuma claimed his opponents were telling lies, adding that the judiciary and politicians believe he does not have rights.

This after Zuma said he would challenge the decision of National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams to reinstate charges against him.

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