Former South African President Jacob Zuma has pleaded “not guilty” to all charges in connection to a 1999 arms deal case.
The 79 year old touted his innocence to the judge at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in KwaZulu-Natal at the start of the trial on Wednesday
Zuma faces 16 counts that include corruption, money laundering, fraud and racketeering linked to a $2.5 billion arms deal dating to the late 1990s.
The charges were dropped in 2009 by former National Prosecuting Authority head Mokotedi Mpshe, weeks before he was elected president.
But they were reinstated in 2018, marking one of the longest-running legal battles.
Zuma said the charges are politically motivated and were initiated by his foes within his own ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.The former South African leader was forced to resign as president by the ANC in 2018 following various allegations of corruption linked to the wealthy Indian Gupta family, among others.
Crowds of Zuma’s supporters gathered outside the court where he is expected to make an address.
The trial was postponed to July 19.