Former president Jacob Zuma File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
JOHANNESBURG - Former South African president Jacob Zuma is due to appear in court on Friday over alleged corruption in a large government arms deal.

Below are some of the main scandals involving Zuma, South Africa’s most divisive president since the end of white minority rule in 1994.

Zuma faces 16 charges - of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money-laundering - relating to 783 instances of alleged wrongdoing in the R30 billion arms deal arranged when he was deputy president.

The charges were set aside in 2009, paving the way for Zuma to run for president, but were re-instated in 2016.

South Africa’s chief prosecutor decided that Zuma should be prosecuted last month.


Soon after becoming president, it emerged that millions of dollars of public money had been spent on upgrades to Zuma’s sprawling country estate, including a swimming pool that one minister justified as a fire-fighting resource.

Zuma weathered a no-confidence vote in parliament over the upgrades and paid back more than $600,000 after unsuccessfully trying to argue his case in the Constitutional Court.

Zuma’s friends, the Gupta brothers, used the top-security Waterkloof air base to fly in 200 wedding guests from India for a family member’s wedding in 2013, sparking a public outcry.

The ANC called the landing reckless and a breach of national security.


Zuma fired finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in December 2015, replacing him with unknown parliamentary backbencher Des van Rooyen.

Zuma was forced to sack van Rooyen and re-appoint a previous finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, four days later after the rand collapsed. President Cyril Ramaphosa re-appointed Nene in February.

Zuma fired Gordhan as finance minister and Jonas as deputy finance minister in a midnight reshuffle in March 2017. South African financial markets plummeted, with senior ANC officials expressing anger at the lack of consultation.

The public protector, South Africa’s main anti-corruption watchdog, published a report in 2016 entitled “State of Capture” alleging that the Guptas had tried to influence the appointment of cabinet ministers and were unlawfully awarded state tenders.

Central to the report was the claim by then-deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas that Zuma’s son Duduzane invited him to the Gupta family home where he was offered the job of finance minister and a bribe of 600 million rand.

While deputy president of the ANC, Zuma was charged with raping Fezekile “Khwezi” Kuzwayo, the HIV-positive daughter of a friend who had been imprisoned on Robben Island with Zuma during the apartheid era.

Zuma was acquitted in 2006 but was ridiculed after saying he had showered after sex to reduce the risk of contracting HIV.

The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.