PRETORIA, 26 July 2021 – The corruption trial of former South African President Jacob Zuma has been postponed until next August 10.
Zuma was jailed earlier this month for 15 months for contempt of court after he failed to appear at a separate judiciary inquiry.
His failed appearance was for another inquiry also linked to corruption.
The trial now expected to open next August 10 involves a deal to buy weapons which Zuma was involved with during the 1990s.
Zuma appeared in court from jail via video link on Monday when a new start date for the trial was agreed. His lawyers asked for weeks of delay in the beginning of the trial but the court insisted that proceedings need to begin next August 10.
Lawyers called for a postponement of the trial in part because of the spike in infections of the new coronavirus, which prevented the former president’s lawyers from appearing in court in person.
The postponement has also been approved in the hope of lowering the tensions and protests which degenerated into riots following the jailing of the still quite popular former South African leader.
The case against the ex-president alleges his receipt of kickbacks in the negotiation of a $2 billion weapons.
Zuma has pleaded not guilty to charges including corruption, fraud and money laundering, but has been able to escape prosecution for more than ten years, portraying himself as the victim of a political witch hunt.
Rights groups have said the case is a real test of South Africa’s ability to end impunity by bringing powerful political and economic personalities suspected of wrongdoing to the book.
Nearly 150 South Africans were killed in the riots that followed the jailing of Zuma.