S Africa court adjourns Zuma's arms deal corruption trial to next month

In Summary

•Zuma is currently in prison after earlier this month starting a 15-month sentence for contempt of court.

Ex-President Jacob Zuma
Ex-President Jacob Zuma
Image: FILE

A South African court on Tuesday adjourned former president Jacob Zuma's arms deal corruption trial to Aug. 10, after the ex-leader applied for a postponement to appear in person rather than virtually.

Zuma is currently in prison after earlier this month starting a 15-month sentence for contempt of court.

On Monday, Zuma appeared in court from jail via video link, but called for the case to be pushed back because of the pandemic and recent riots sparked by his arrest.

Efforts to prosecute the ex-president for allegedly receiving kickbacks over a $2 billion weapons deal in the late 1990s are seen as a test of South Africa's ability to hold powerful politicians to account.

Zuma has pleaded not guilty to charges including corruption, fraud and money laundering. He has cast himself as the victim of a politically motivated witch-hunt in his attempts to evade prosecution over more than a decade.

Wearing a dark suit and red tie during his Monday appearance, Zuma said nothing while his lawyer Dali Mpofu argued that the trial in the Pietermaritzburg High Court should be postponed for Zuma to appear in person as opposed to virtually.

Mpofu said Zuma had not been able to properly consult his legal team after handing himself over in the early hours of July 8 to start a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court.