Former president Jacob Zuma is expected to make his second appearance in the dock of the High Court in Durban on Friday, where his attorneys are expected to argue for a stay of prosecution until matters surrounding who is footing his legal bills are resolved.
Authorities are preparing for a zealous show of support from Zuma defenders to rival the rally that accompanied his first appearance on the current charges in April.
This comes after National Prosecuting Authority boss Shaun Abrahams earlier this week declined Zuma's lawyers' request for a postponement of the case, pending the outcome of legal battles with opposition parties over who should fund his legal team throughout the trial.
This has left the former president in the lurch — his lawyer, Michael Hulley, has already suspended the services of senior counsel until matters regarding payment are resolved.
Zuma is facing 16 charges on 783 counts of corruption, money laundering and racketeering in relation to the controversial multimillion-rand arms deal scandal — a matter revived last year when the courts set aside a previous decision by the NPA to drop charges against him.
Zuma "I have been keeping quite all the time, instead of discussing their policies they sit to discuss me. I am warning them, don't continue doing it, I am now not a president, I can handle them the way I want"— Clement Manyathela (@TheRealClementM) June 6, 2018
Both the EFF and the DA have brought cases against Zuma asking for a termination of state funding for his legal defence.
The DA wants to set aside a decade-old agreement between Zuma and his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, which stipulates the state will continue funding Zuma's legal battles. The EFF wants Zuma to pay back about R15-million already spent by taxpayers on the matter.
Cyril Ramaphosa has effectively left Zuma out in the cold, saying the Presidency would abide by whatever decision the courts make.
At Zuma's initial appearance on April 6, his legal team asked for a postponement to file papers challenging Abrahams' decision to prosecute him. After writing a motivation to Abrahams — which was rejected — Zuma was expected to take the challenge to the courts, but when it came time to file the papers, his lawyers changed their minds.
Good morning son's and daughters of the soil. I greet you all in the name of President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, the peoples president, uNxamalala, uMsholozi.— #HandsOffZuma ✊✊ (@MajavuThabiso) May 21, 2018
Don't forget to join us on the 7th and 8th June 2018 in Durban park and in Durban high court to support ubaba..
Thousands of Zuma followers showed up outside the court in a show of support, with ANC heavyweights like disbanded provincial executive chairman Sihle Zikalala present.
A similar show of muscle is expected this time round.
Police have blocked off roads around the high court and have called in various units to assist with crowd control, as hundreds of supporters are expected to gather outside the court.
According to e.tv News on Thursday night, a small group of Zuma supporters had already gathered for an all-night vigil by 8pm.
73 year old Beauty Skhakhena is from Nkandla. She came all the way here tonight to support #Zuma and will go back tomorrow after court. Story coming soon with @sbonisomngadi@SundayTribuneSApic.twitter.com/hrgvDioppg— Karinda Jagmohan (@Karinda_J) June 7, 2018