The corruption trial of former South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma, which was scheduled to begin today Monday, has been postponed until May 26, according to a judge.
Zuma is accused of 16 counts of bribery, corruption, and racketeering in connection with a 30 billion rand ($5.0 billion) procurement of fighter jets, patrol vessels, and military equipment from five European arms firms in 1999.
Zuma, 79, was serving as Thabo Mbeki’s deputy at the time and is accused of accepting bribes totaling four million rand from one of the firms, French defense giant Thales.
The case was repeatedly postponed as Zuma filed a slew of motions to have the charges dropped.
Last month, all of Zuma’s lawyers resigned without explanation.
“Zuma is ready to proceed with trial, he has always been ready to proceed with trial,” his new lawyer, Thabani Masuku, told the court on Monday.
Zuma previously referred to the trial as a “political witch hunt.”
Zuma, who was in power from 2009 to 2018, was forced to resign by the ANC due to a mounting series of scandals.
Cyril Ramaphosa, his successor, has vowed to root out corruption.