Zuma supporters gather outside PMB High Court ahead of his appearance

Zuma's facing multiple charges alongside arms company Thales linked to a multibillion-rand arms deal.

Former President Jacob Zuma at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 21 May 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Former President Jacob Zuma's supporters have started gathering outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court in KwaZulu-Natal ahead of his appearance related to his corruption trial.

Zuma's facing multiple charges alongside arms company Thales linked to a multibillion-rand arms deal.

His return to court on Wednesday morning comes after his lawyers indicated that they'll file a special plea in which Zuma wants the removal of lead State prosecutor advocate Billy Downer from the case.

Meanwhile, the ANC has applauded his ally embattled party general Ace Magashule for abandoning his plans to assemble Free State branches at a venue outside the court.

As Zuma prepares for his next appearance the NPA said it expected another delay in the commencement of his trial.

It's a colourful scene where many of Zuma’s supporters appear to have braced the cold morning weather and gathered outside the court in a bid to show their allegiance to the former statesman.

Many are wearing white t-shirts with Zuma's image placed prominently in the centre and others asking, “What has Zuma done?”

After Wednesday’s court appearance, the former president is expected to address his supporters outside a stage set up especially for him.

But before that, he’s going to have to face the NPA, which has taken issue with his Section 106 application as spokesperson Sipho Ngwema explained: “We were given the papers by Mr Zuma’s lawyers. Of course, the papers are not in order. They are not supporting documents with what they are alleging and, therefore, we are unable to respond to them. But we will deal with those issues in court today and hope that they will be able to come to the party.”

Ngwema said despite the challenges, they are confident that justice will be served.

Zuma has arrived at court for his appearance.

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