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

The prices had been reinstated following getting chucked out 10 years ago and relate into a arms bargain from the nineties, when Zuma had been deputy president.

The case, which is to be heard in Zuma's home province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, is a dramatic development on a continent where leaders rarely face their accusers in court.

His trial is likely to be a lengthy one, with a battle brewing over whether the state should keep paying Mr Zuma's legal bills.

Zuma stated that he would be proven innocent in a corruption case against him and his opponents were telling lies. The vigil culminated in a march from the King DiniZulu gardens to the High Court on the morning of Zuma's court appearance.

Opposition parties are suing to force Zuma to pay back his legal fees, and to block the government from paying future ones.

"Zuma is not, like a freedom fighter before 1994, a victim of an immoral regime".

The country's next national elections will be held in 2019.

Zane Mlaba, a local ANC activist, described party leaders who called on members not to rally around Zuma "traitors".

Rogan Ward / Reuters Jacob Zuma waves to his supporters on his way to the high court in Durban.

He criticized the ANC, which banned his supporters from wearing ANC colors, clothing and regalia at his trial to support him.

The Zuma of old is still here - the crowd pleaser, the charmer and tactical politician.

Zuma said he was being treated like a prisoner, even by the people he trusted and that just because he was charged did not mean he was guilty. That's why they take me to court.

To his supporters, it was clear that "they" meant his political enemies.

His supporters say he is again being singled out after losing a power struggle to Ramaphosa.

The deal involved companies from Germany, Italy, Sweden, the UK, France and South Africa. South African financial markets plummeted, with senior ANC officials expressing anger at the lack of consultation.

The case against Zuma was, however, dropped shortly before he ran for president in 2009.

Last month, chief prosecutor Shaun Abrahams said the case would go ahead and he was confident that "there are reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution".

  • Salvatore Jensen