South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma on Monday did not turn up for the resumption of a corruption trial, citing ill health.
Zuma, who was ousted from the ruling African National Congress in 2018 after nearly two decades as president has pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption, money laundering and racketeering relating to a $2bn (£1.5bn) arms deal that date back to the 1990s.
He said the charges are a witch-hunt by political rivals.
Zuma is pursuing private prosecution proceedings to remove the lead prosecutor in an arms deal corruption trial after failed legal challenges, his foundation said on Sunday.
Last month, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) rejected Zuma’s latest bid to have lead prosecutor Billy Downer taken off the case after accusing him of bias and leaking of confidential information to a journalist in contravention of the national prosecution act, among other complaints.
The court said that there is no reasonable prospect of success and there is no other compelling reason why an appeal should be heard.
The spokesman of the Jacob Zuma Foundation, Mzwanele Manyi told a press briefing on Sunday that Zuma, who turns 80 on Tuesday, is applying for a postponement because “it is very clear that the conditions for a fair trail are non-existent”.
Numerous legal challenges have caused long delays and postponements in this highly anticipated trial.
The National Prosecution Authority accused Zuma of using delay tactics to stop the trial going ahead.
A South African judge postponed the former President’s corruption trial, pending his appeal to the Supreme Court to have the lead prosecutor removed.
The court will reconvene on 17 May to determine the way forward.