Former President Zuma's trial postponed to August 10

A South African court ruled on Tuesday to postpone the corruption trial of former South African President Jacob Zuma until August 10.

Pietermaritzburg (east) High Court Judge Piet Koen, who delivered his ruling after a request submitted on Monday by Mr Zuma's defense team, said the trial will now resume from August 10 to 13, 2021.

Mr. Zuma has appeared in court virtually from Estcourt Correctional Center in KwaZulu-Natal province, where he is serving a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of justice.

Despite strong protest from Mr Zuma's legal team, the court ruled that the next hearings will also be held virtually, as the country faces a third wave of Covid-19 infections.

It has been more than 15 years since Zuma was embroiled in a corruption scandal linked to a deal with French arms company Thales.

At 79, the former head of state (2009-2018) will face charges of extortion and money laundering for acts dating back to 1999, when he was still vice-president.

He is suspected of having received more than four million rand (nearly 235,000 euros) in bribes in 1999, as part of this contract of nearly 3 billion euros with the French giant Thales, him also on the dock.

At the end of June, the South African Constitutional Court sentenced Mr. Zuma to prison for contempt of court. His imprisonment on July 7 sparked a wave of violence and looting that rocked the country for more than a week.

Major cities like Johannesburg, Durban and Pietermaritzburg have been ravaged by unprecedented violence and criminal acts that took root in KwaZulu-Natal province and then spread to other parts of the country, including Gauteng, considered the most populous province.

Camille Kine