Reporter: Stuart Graham
Zuma Sings, Dances after Case Remanded
Axed deputy president Jacob Zuma sang and danced with his supporters in Durban on
Saturday morning shortly after hearing that his corruption trial would start in
the High Court on July 31 next year.
Zuma, who was dressed in a grey suit
and blue shirt, was cheered by the large crowd outside of the Durban
Magistrate's Court as he started singing the struggle song
According to people in the crowd, the song means "bring my
machine" but implies "bring my machine gun".
Speaking in Zulu, Zuma
explained the judicial process to the crowd, saying he was going to the high
court and would appreciate their continued support.
He also asked for
them to be disciplined and not repeat any incidents such as the one at his
previous court hearing when people burnt t-shirts showing the face of President
Mbeki fired Zuma following the conviction of Zuma's friend
and former financial adviser Schabir Shaik on charges related to a "generally
corrupt relationship" between the pair.
Various high profile members of
the African National Congress, including secretary general Kgalema Motlanthe,
speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete and KwaZulu-Natal premier Sbu Ndebele were in
ANC Youth League president Fikile Mbalula and SA Communist
Party leader Blade Nzimande were also there.
Earlier a court official
formally served Zuma with an indictment outlining the two corruption charges
The case was then remanded to the Durban High Court for
trial. The proceedings lasted a little more than two minutes.
is scheduled to end on November 30.
National Prosecuting Authority
spokesman Makhosini Nkosi said no plea bargain offer would be made to
"No, we are not going to make the offer," he told journalists
inside the court. The offer has to come from one of two parties -- and we are
not making it."
However he added: "If the offer is made, we will
Zuma's lawyer Michael Hulley has said that any
plea bargain offer would be rejected.
The indictment includes a
list of 105 witnesses to testify against Zuma and his co-accused -- Thint
Holdings (Southern Africa) Pty Ltd and Thint Pty Ltd. The companies are
subsidiaries of a French defence electronics giant.
Thint is accused of
offering a R500 000 a year bribe to Zuma in exchange for his silence during an
investigation into the country's multi-billion rand arms deal.
fraud and corruption conviction, which he is appealing, relates to money given
to Zuma, which the court found was a bribe from Thint in exchange for protection
during the inquiry into the arms deal.
Shaik said the money was a
Zuma's axing by Mbeki sparked a wave of protests by the ANCYL and
the ANC's alliance partners, Cosatu and the SACP.
Witnesses in the trial
are expected to include Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille, former
president Nelson Mandela's ex-attorney Ismail Ayob, and businessman Richard Young.
Were Zuma to plead guilty
and receive a non-custodial sentence, this could theoretically pave the way for
him to become the country's next president.
A person is not allowed to
hold public office if sentenced to 12 months or more in jail without the option
of a fine.
After the court proceedings, Zuma walked outside and waved to
his supporters who cheered him on.
Some in the crowd held up bright red
banners which read: "Zuma won't get a fair trial."
Many waved the yellow,
green and black flag of the ANC. A loud speaker blared out
Temporary fences were erected to keep the crowd back and police
kept a watchful eye while the supporters, who were in a jovial mood, sang
pro-Zuma songs such as "Zuma for president".
Many people had been outside
the court since Friday afternoon. They barbecued meat and were entertained by
Early on Saturday morning some were found asleep on the grass
under the trees outside of the court.
Zuma's appearance was moved to
Saturday after staff at the court complained about disruptions after his last
appearance in October.
Political analysts say that nothing will stop Zuma
from becoming the next president of the ANC and possibly the country, if he is
With acknowledgements to Graham Stuart and Sapa