Jacob Zuma appears in court charged with corruption

City Press Gallo Images via Getty Images                       President Jacob Zuma's eldest son Edward Muzi Zuma

City Press Gallo Images via Getty Images President Jacob Zuma's eldest son Edward Muzi Zuma

"I am innocent until proven guilty". Supporters began gathering in Durban the night before, carrying ANC flags and wearing party clothing.

"Why am I being treated as if I'm guilty?" he said.

Mr Ramaphosa came in on a ticket of clean governance and entertaining yet another Zuma controversy could lose him the support he is now enjoying.

In a similar way, former ANC MP and arms-deal activist Andrew Feinstein told news agencies that there was good amount of evidence against Zuma and that "should find himself in jail". "They understand the game and they are going to give it their all", said Witz.

The purchase of naval vessels, submarines, fighter jets and other equipment from European nations - made by the government of Nelson Mandela in the mid-to-late 1990s - was meant to modernize the South African military.

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After his court appearance, a pugnacious Zuma addressed thousands of supporters gathered near the courthouse.

The matter was heard in less than half an hour in the Durban High Court on Friday morning.

Zuma was deputy president at the time. The charges were however dropped by the agency in 2009 shortly before Mr Zuma became president.

Zuma could face several years in prison.

Zuma is facing 16 charges relating to 783 payments he allegedly received in connection with the controversial arms deal.

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"On one level, Zuma has just run out of legal options, but there has also been a political change and it is unfortunate that that political change has meant that the National Prosecuting Authority is doing what it should have done all along", said advocate James Grant, a former professor of law at Witwatersrand University.

Speaking in Zulu, he told his supporters: "I have never seen it before where someone is charged with a crime, those charges are dropped and then years later those same charges are reinstated".

The North Gauteng High Court had ordered Zuma to personally foot the bill for trying to have the report set aside and reviewed. Last year Zuma lost a Supreme Court appeal against that decision.

After taking the microphone on a baking hot Durban day, Zuma questioned the integrity of the legal system, lamented about conspiracies and plots, bemoaned the abuse of democracy, argued that his rights had been violated, and styled himself as a freedom fighter standing up for the black man.

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