South Africa ex-president Jacob Zuma to face corruption trial

The US has blacklisted South Africa Gupta

Former South African president Jacob Zuma will face trial on corruption charges after a court dismissed his application to halt the case for good.

On Friday, Judge Mnguni dismissed an application by Zuma and his co-accused, French arms dealer Thales, to have the charges set aside permanently with costs.

Advocate Wim Trengrove, representing the state, however, made an impassioned plea that both the NPA and Jacob Zuma's legal team should shoulder the blame for the nearly 15-year-long delay in prosecutions and that criminal proceedings should commence as scheduled for October 15.

The ruling by Judge Jerome Mnguni in Pietermaritzburg paves the way for Zuma's long-awaited trial to start on October 15.

The NPA had the opportunity to prosecute Zuma alongside Shaik in 2004 but declined to do so, even though it said it had a prima facie case against Zuma.

"Zuma has said for a long time that he wants to have the opportunity appear in court, but at the same he also tried to delay his appearance".

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Zuma, who was in office from 2009 to 2018, had applied for 16 charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering to be effectively struck out. They were dropped by prosecutors in 2009, shortly before Zuma became president, and reinstated in 2016.

Thales said it was reviewing the judgement with its lawyers and would assess its legal options. Zuma, 77, claimed a year ago that he was so broke that he had to sell his socks to raise legal fees, after another court ruled he should front the bills.

The ruling ANC party forced Zuma to resign over another corruption scandal centred around the wealthy Gupta business family, who won lucrative contracts with state companies and allegedly held sway over his choice of cabinet ministers.

In a telephonic media briefing facilitated by the Africa Regional Media hub, US Secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence Sigal Mandelkar confirmed that the Gupta family had been sanctioned for its involvement in widespread corruption and the misappropriation of state assets in this country.

In July, Zuma faced questioning by Raymond Zondo, a senior judge, mandated to investigate separate allegations of "state capture" in South Africa during his presidency.

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