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Zuma court bid continues today

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Picture: (AFP/Gianluigi Guercia)- ANC president Jacob Zuma sings the Zulu anthem Mshini wami, which means “Bring me my machine gun” as he addresses the crowd of his supporters in front of the Pietermaritzburg High Court. Zuma was cheered by thousands of supporters yesterday as he left court on graft charges that could end his shot at becoming president next year.

Ruling party leader Jacob Zuma is back in court today in a bid to have the corruption case against him scrapped. It will be his second day before Judge Chris Nicholson in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, where his lawyer, Kemp J Kemp, argued yesterday that the decision to prosecute him was unlawful.

His supporters were expected to arrive at the court from 9am onwards. Early morning, journalists outnumbered policemen deployed outside the court as Pietermaritzburg residents went about their business as usual.

Television crews were setting up their equipment while hawkers
unpacked Zuma merchandise. Zuma faces a charge of racketeering, four charges of corruption, a charge of money laundering and 12 charges of fraud related to a multi-billion rand government arms deal. If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of 15 years.

The Star newspaper reported today that the state was trying to secure a trial date in April, which would be just before general elections expected to elect Zuma as president of South Africa.

Zuma is claiming that the decision to prosecute him was a reversal of a decision taken by the former National Director of Public Prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka. He announced in August 2003 that the National Prosecuting Authority would not prosecute Zuma, because it did not believe that it had a “winnable case”.

But after Zuma’s financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, was found guilty of corruption in 2005, the state decided to charge Zuma after all.