Pietermaritzburg (South Africa) (AFP) - A South African court said on Friday it will rule next week whether to allow former president Jacob Zuma's appeal against his corruption trial related to a 1990s arms deal.
Zuma was forced to step down last year by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party after a nine-year reign marked by corruption allegations and dwindling popularity.
He is alleged to have taken bribes worth four million rand ($270,000, 240,000 euros) when he was deputy president related to a $3.4 billion arms deal in 1999.
Both Zuma and French defence company Thales, which supplied equipment for navy vessels, deny the charges.
Last month, Zuma's lawyer filed an appeal against the planned October 15 trial, dragging on a case that has seen numerous legal turns over a decade and a half.
On Friday, the court heard arguments from lawyers for both sides. It said it will decide on November 29 on the admissibility of the requested appeal.
Zuma's lawyer Muzi Sikhakhane denounced "political interference" in the case.
The prosecutor's representative, Andrew Breitenbach, asked for Zuma's appeal to be rejected, saying he had not provided a "sound, rational basis" to justify it.
"The matter must stop here and Mr Zuma must have his day in court," he said.
Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering related to the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment when he was deputy to the country's second black president, Thabo Mbeki.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over from Zuma, has vowed to tackle deep-seated corruption but faces opposition from senior powerful ANC members, many of whom remain Zuma allies.