Jacob Zuma the former South African president and the French company Thales, linked to a $2 billion arms deal, are involved in a case of corruption in the arms trade. The trial will begin on May 17.
Mr. Zuma is accused of passive corruption during his term as vice president from 1999 and then as president from 2009 to 2018.
He is charged with 16 counts of racketeering, fraud, corruption and money laundering in relation to the French defense company Thales.
Zuma is accused of accepting 500,000 rand ($34,000) as a bribe from Thales per year from 1999 onwards, in exchange for protecting the company from an investigation into an agreement to supply military equipment to South Africa.
The former president denied the charges at a previous hearing. Thales, formerly known as Thompson-CSF, has consistently stated that he had no knowledge of transgressions by any of its employees in connection with the awarding of contracts.
The preliminary hearing, which was broadcast on local South African television, began Tuesday after being postponed to December 2020. Jacob Zuma was not present at the hearing.
The case is ready for trial, said the High Court of Pietermaritzburg, which asked all the defendants to be present on May 17 on condition that COVID-19 restrictions allow representatives of the French company to travel to the country by plane. The trial will last from May to June, the court said.