By Mogomotsi Magome and Nqobile Ntshangase, The Associated Press
Court proceedings for former South African president Jacob Zuma were pushed back to Feb. 4 on Oct. 15 as his legal team said it would appeal a ruling dismissing its attempt to halt prosecution on graft charges for good.
Zuma faces charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering related to a 1999 arms deal. He is accused of receiving bribes from French arms manufacturer Thales through his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik, who was convicted of fraud and corruption in 2005.
Former South African President Jacob Zuma sits in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, Oct. 15, 2019. Zuma is appearing on fraud and corruption charges and the case has been postponed until Feb. 4, 2019. (Michele Spatari/Pool via AP)
Zuma’s legal team has until the end of this month to appeal last week’s High Court ruling, which found that the allegations against him were serious. The former president, who denies wrongdoing, has argued that the case has been prejudiced by long delays and that there has been political interference in his prosecution.
Zuma was president from 2009 to 2018, when he was forced to resign by the ruling African National Congress party amid separate allegations of corruption linked to the controversial Gupta family. The U.S. Treasury Department last week announced sanctions against three Gupta family members.
The scandals sparked outrage and badly hurt the reputation of the ANC, which has ruled South Africa since the end of the harsh system of white minority rule known as apartheid in 1994.
The scandals around Zuma also severely hurt investor confidence in South Africa’s economy, the most developed in sub-Saharan Africa.
The corruption has cost the country an estimated 1 trillion rand, or $67 billion.
Magome reported from Johannesburg.