Jacob Zuma corruption case postponed to 26 May, intends pleading 'not guilty'

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  • Former president Jacob Zuma appeared in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday. 
  • Zuma's corruption trial has been postponed to 26 May. 
  • He is expected to plead "not guilty" when he returns to court.  

Former president Jacob Zuma will plead not guilty to corruption charges when he returns to court on 26 May.

Zuma appeared in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Monday, where the matter was postponed.

Zuma's advocate Thabani Masuku SC indicated that they wished to bring a "special plea".  He also added that Zuma was ready to proceed with the trial.

"It should never be regarded that our plea that we intend to raise is a sign that we are not ready. We are ready," Masuku said.

However, State advocate Billy Downer said he hadn't seen the "special plea" papers, adding that he was informed that substantial papers including evidence under oath supported the plea.

ALSO READ | Magashule tells media former president 'must be supported at all times'

Downer, who is the same advocate who successfully prosecuted fraudster Schabir Shaik, told the court that the State needed to consider the contents of the plea and consider its position.

"It is inevitable that this matter has to be postponed to allow the State to read my learned friend's plea and to decide how to respond."

Zuma's team will file an affidavit raising the grounds of the plea by Wednesday.

During his appearance, Zuma had the support of suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo. 

As Zuma entered the courtroom on Monday , some in the gallery chanted, "long live Jacob Zuma, long live!"

The matter started just after 10:45 and was over in less than 15 minutes. 

The uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association was also represented in the form of Carl Niehaus. 

Zuma faces 16 charges relating to 783 payments he allegedly received in connection with the controversial Arms Deal.

Former NPA boss Mokotedi Mpshe dropped the charges in 2009, based on the recordings of the so-called "spy tapes", which were presented to him by Zuma's legal team.

The tapes were made up of recordings of telephone conversations between then Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka, which Zuma's legal team claimed showed political interference in the decision to charge him.

The charges were subsequently withdrawn, just before Zuma was sworn in for his first term as president. 

However, in March 2018, former NPA boss Shaun Abrahams reinstated the charges.  

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