A South African court on Tuesday, July 20, adjourned former president Jacob Zuma’s arms deal corruption trial to August 10, after the former leader applied for a postponement to appear in person rather than virtually.
Zuma’s jailing earlier this month triggered some of the worst civil protests by his supporters who looted, stole from public and private properties leaving hundreds dead.
The protests were the worst ever seen in South Africa of the post-apartheid era.
Zuma’s successor, President Cyril Ramaphosa, authorized the deployment of 25,000 soldiers to quell the unrest, and more than 2,500 people have been arrested.
Zuma appeared by video link in court on Monday to seek a further delay in his corruption trial.
Even though the government has largely restored order in the streets, there were fears Zuma’s latest court appearance could again trigger violent protests from his supporters.
Zuma has pleaded not guilty to the charges including corruption, fraud and money laundering.
The ex-president is accused of receiving bribes over a $2 billion weapons deal in the late 1990s.
Zuma allegedly allowed three Indian-born businessmen, Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta, to plunder state resources and traffic influence over government policy.
The Guptas, who fled South Africa after Zuma was ousted, also deny wrongdoing.
He has evaded prosecution for more than a decade by casting himself as the victim of a politically motivated witch-hunt.
Wearing a dark suit and red tie, Zuma, 79, said nothing while one of his lawyers Dali Mpofu argued that the trial should be postponed for Zuma to appear in person as opposed to virtually.
Local television channel Newzroom Afrika showed armored military vehicles stationed outside the high court in Pietermaritzburg, one of the places worst-affected by the recent unrest.
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.