South African court postpones Zuma case against state prosecutor

FORMER South African President Jacob Zuma’s appeal in a case to remove the lead prosecutor in an arms deal corruption trial was postponed to mid-February when a ruling is expected, the presiding judge said on Monday.

In October, Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Piet Koen dismissed a “special plea” by Zuma to have prosecutor Billy Downer taken off the case after accusing him of bias, among other complaints.

Zuma, who was ousted from the ruling African National Congress in 2018 after nearly two decades as president, has pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering in the long-running case over the $2 billion arms deal in the 1990s.

The deal case has dogged Zuma since he was sacked as deputy president of the country in 2005. He said he was the victim of a political witch-hunt.

Koen told the court the appeal had been adjourned to February 16 when he hopes to be “in a position to give judgment”.

Zuma is also facing incarceration in a separate criminal matter, where he is appealing a decision from June last year sentencing him to 15 months in prison for contempt of court, after ignoring instructions to participate in a corruption inquiry.

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