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Zuma to field trimmed down legal team due to financial constraints

Dozens of people are expected to descend on the Durban High Court on Friday morning where former president Jacob Zuma will appear on charges from almost a decade ago.

FILE: Former South African president Jacob Zuma in the dock at the Durban High Court on 6 April 2018 for a preliminary hearing related to charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – Dozens of people are expected to descend on the Durban High Court on Friday morning where former president Jacob Zuma will appear on charges from almost a decade ago.

The former president sat in the dock at the Durban High Court for the first time as accused number one in April.

He's facing 16 charges related to corruption, racketeering, money laundering and fraud.

The charges relate to his alleged involvement in the controversial arms deal but Zuma insists they are politically motivated.

As the former president prepares for his court appearance, his heavyweight legal team will look a lot leaner.

The criminal case was postponed because Zuma’s lawyers had wanted to file an application to review the decision to prosecute him again.

But they failed to meet the May deadline.

Today’s proceedings are likely to be adjourned depending on whether Zuma’s lawyers decide to file any further applications

The State has already indicated that it’s ready to go to trial from 12 November.

Another change we’re likely to see today is Zuma’s legal team, which is understood to be different due to financial constraints the former president financial is facing in relation to paying for his own legal costs.

Meanwhile, Zuma's supporters have begun a march in solidarity with the former president.

Zuma arrived from the back of the court flanked by his bodyguards.

Former minister, Des van Rooyen followed behind him.

Church leaders, businessmen and some Umkhonto we Sizwe military veterans association members are leading the march to the Durban High Court.

The group is marching through the Durban CBD, drawing attention from onlookers.

The crowd is singing Zuma's praises.

One of the march leaders, Nkosentsha Shezi, says that the charges against Zuma are political motivated.

"To believe he is being persecuted for standing up for economic transformation and land expropriation without compensation and therefore we have said we are coming here to stand with President Jacob Zuma."

A mobile stage has been set up where Zuma is due to address the court after his appearance.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)