South Africa's ex-President Jacob Zuma charged with corruption

Zuma's allies, the walking wounded, pack court for his first appearance

The case has been adjourned until June 8. The representatives of the French company are expected to appear in court alongside Zuma.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Friday welcomed the Presidency's decision to withdraw the appeal against the court ruling ordering former President Jacob Zuma to personally pay the legal costs for trying to block the release the State of Capture report.

But this time around Mr Ramaphosa is keen to distance the party from Mr Zuma as it prepares for a hotly contested national election next year.

Zuma asked? "The truth will come out". What have I done? I can't believe all the lies that are said about me.

He criticized the ANC, which banned his supporters from wearing ANC colors, clothing and regalia at his trial to support him. It was a much larger gathering than the one which held an all-night vigil at a park for him a few 100 metres from the courthouse on Thursday night - but numbers aside, the support is certain.

"I am innocent until proven guilty".

Analysts say the ex-president could succeed in delaying his trial for at least 18 months with his legal tactics, after already stalling the case for more than a decade.

That is something Mr Zuma's local supporters are threatening to leverage. "They can't even debate in parliament‚" he said.

Fallout has cast a shadow over South African politics ever since.

He ended by dancing and singing a song in Zulu: "I am wounded by people I grew up with".

Zuma - forced to resign just seven weeks ago - sat in the dock as about a thousand cheering supporters rallied outside, reflecting a case that has raised passions and dug political divisions.

Zuma, who was ousted as Head of State, attended a brief preliminary hearing at the high court in Durban. Behind him is Michael Hulley, Zuma's long-serving lawyer. Charges were filed against him but then dropped shortly before he successfully ran for president in 2009.

South Africa's new president, the wealthy businessman and former labour leader Cyril Ramaphosa, came to power on a pledge to fight corruption. Zuma has been linked to a 1990s arms deal. But after he became leader of the African National Congress in December 2007, the case against him began to topple.

Zuma is facing 16 charges stemming from the arms deal nearly a decade ago.

Zuma countered with his own legal challenges.

Zuma launched his bid for appeal of the judgment and the personal costs order a week after the ruling.

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