Johannesburg, South Africa, Jul 20 – Jacob Zuma’s long-running corruption trial will resume on August 10, a South African judge ruled on Tuesday after the ex-president sought to have the case postponed because of the pandemic and recent unrest.
“The trial is adjourned to 10 to 13 August,” Judge Piet Koen said.
Zuma on Monday appeared in court via a video link from his prison, where he is serving a jail term for contempt of court on an unrelated matter.
His lawyers had applied to have the case postponed by up to three weeks because of the unrest and the Covid pandemic to allow time for the trial to resume physically.
The 79-year-old faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering related to the 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and equipment from five European arms firms when he was deputy president.
He is accused of taking bribes from one of the firms, French defence giant Thales, which has been charged with corruption and money laundering.
Both Zuma and Thales have entered pleas of not guilty.
His foundation immediately lauded the decision, tweeting: “The Constitution has prevailed at last!”
“There can be NO virtual criminal proceedings in the absence of an accused person who is unable to consult with his lawyers,” it said.
Zuma, once dubbed the “Teflon president”, began serving a 15-month jail sentence for contempt on July 8.
He was arrested for disobeying a Constitutional Court order to testify before a panel probing the plunder of state coffers during his nine-year presidency