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Ex-President Zuma in court on corruption charges
By Lamido Yusuf

Former President Jacob Zuma is seen in the dock at the High Court in Durban on today

Durban, South Africa (CNN)South Africa's ex-President Jacob Zuma appeared in a Durban court today to face multiple corruption charges relating to a billion-dollar arms deal in the late 1990s.

It's a dramatic U-turn for Zuma, who just weeks ago held the highest office in the land. He resigned on February 14, forced out by the leadership of the ruling African National Congress, his own party.

Thousands of people turned out to support Zuma as he arrived at the high court for his first hearing. They had been asked not to wear ANC colors, but many wore wraps and T-shirts with the former president's image.

After a brief preliminary hearing, the judge adjourned court proceedings to June 8.

Despite its brevity, the hearing was notable in a continent where leaders -- former or current -- don't generally face the law.

Andrew Feinstein, a former ANC member of parliament, has long accused Zuma of corruption. "But the question is, can Zuma keep himself out of court using legal machinations?" he asked.

Up until his Durban court appearance, Zuma's legal team had been successful in doing just that with a series of mostly procedural maneuvers.

In court Friday, his defense team said it would challenge the decision to prosecute. 

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