S/Africa’s ex-president Zuma appears in court for corruption plea

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Former African President Jacob Zuma appeared in court on Wednesday on charges bordering on corruption among .

Zuma is expected plead guilty corruption, , racketeering and money laundering charges over a $2 arms when he was deputy president.

Zuma, who was president between 2009-2018, faces 18 charges relating the 1999 .

He has rejected the charges and says he is the victim of a politically motived witch hunt by a rival faction of the ruling African National Congress.

Zuma is accused of accepting 500,000 rand ($34,000) annually from French arms Thales, in exchange for protecting the from an investigation into the .

He denies the charge.

Besides entering a plea at the court in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, Zuma’ defence team is expected first call for the recusal of state Billy Downer, on the grounds that he has “no title to prosecute”.

Thales was known as Thomson-CSF at the time of the deal. It has said it had no knowledge of any transgressions by any of its employees in relation to the award of the contracts.

The National Prosecuting Authority filed the charges against Zuma than a decade ago, set them aside just before he successfully ran for president in 2009, then reinstated them a month after he resigned in early 2018.