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This is the Jacob Zuma who boldly addressed crowds outside the Durban High Court minutes after his brief appearance on 16 charges related to fraud and corruption.

"This matter is adjourned until June 8", judge Themba Sishi said after being addressed by lawyers from both sides who confirmed that Zuma would appeal against the decision to prosecute him.

In October 2017, after a marathon legal campaign by the DA party, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that Zuma was liable for prosecution over nearly 800 counts of corruption relating to a 1990s arms deal.

Mr Zuma believes the re-instatement of the charges which were dropped back in 2009, after reports of political interference, are once again politically motivated.

"What we are saying, what the former president is saying, is true - we don't think we are going to get a fair trial", said a supporter, Bishop Timothy Ngcobo who appeared on stage alongside Zuma.

Earlier supporters held an overnight prayer vigil outside Durban's High Court in Kwa-Zulu Natal, a stronghold for Zuma.

Thales, which supplied naval vessels as part of the deal, will also be charged with corruption and company representatives are expected to appear in court alongside Zuma.

Zuma was greeted with cheers and ululations by more than a thousand supporters outside court.

Zuma's legal team was headed up by Advocate Hoosen Gani, the state was led by Advocate Billy Downer, and French arms company Thales - accused number two - was represented by Senior Counsel Anton Katz.

Mabe said that Zuma was protected by the law and had a right to be considered innocent "unless proven otherwise".

Nearby, a crowd of 50 young women, some wearing Zuma shirts, gathered below an underpass in a corner of the park to chant in support of their embattled former president. Zuma, who resigned February 14, says he has not done anything wrong.

"Opposition parties, because of their serious lack of politics, don't know how to win debates in Parliament and they are using courts to drive their agenda", he said.

Marchers, many clad in the distinctive yellow, green and black of the ANC, carried placards reading "Hands off Zuma" and performed the high-stepping toyi-toyi protest dance made popular in South Africa's decades-long struggle against apartheid.

Mr Zuma's remaining supporters argue that he is being targeted for backing a radical economic reform agenda.

The appeal is likely to prolong his epic legal battle to head off the charges and avoid a trial could send him to jail.

"There are those I trusted that are adamant that I must be found guilty".