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South Africa’s worst drought in years affects farmers

Government imposes water cuts and gives aid to farmers as part of emergency measures to fight severe drought.

South Africa is experiencing what many farmers say is the driest season they can remember. They are having to sell their livestock, and this is having a knock-on effect on the economy.

In response to the lack of water, the government has imposed emergency measures to restrict water use and improve supply infrastructure.

 

Former President Zuma must face trial

Zuma expected to return to court next week on corruption charges as court dismissed his application to halt case.

Former South African President Jacob Zuma will face trial on corruption charges after a court on Friday dismissed his application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

Zuma, who is accused of taking bribes from French defence company Thales in the 1990s, sought to have the case permanently dropped in March.

It is uncertain how long the trial will last and when South Africans will have answers for a case that has been going on for almost 15 years.

Zuma’s lawyers said the case is politically motivated and the years of delay will result in an unfair trial.

But the trial is now expected to begin on Tuesday after High Court Judge Willie Seriti ruled Zuma’s “application for the permanent stay is dismissed”.

The judge agreed with the prosecution that parts of Zuma’s arguments to have the case thrown out were “scandalous and or vexatious”.

Al Jazeera’s Fahmida Miller, reporting from Pietermaritzburg in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, said the court ruling was handed down in less than two minutes.

“However, the former president has the option to approach the Supreme Court to appeal this judgement and perhaps further delay his day in court,” she said.

“Zuma has said for a long time that he wants to have the opportunity appear in court, but at the same he also tried to delay his appearance.”

The charges

Zuma, 77, has been charged with 16 counts of fraud, racketeering, and money-laundering relating to a multimillion-dollar arms deal dating back to before he took office in 2009.

The charges were first brought in 2005. They were dropped by prosecutors in 2009, shortly before Zuma became president, and reinstated in 2016.

He is alleged to have taken the bribes during his time as a provincial economy minister and later as deputy president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in the 1990s.

Zuma was forced to resign from office last year over a separate corruption scandal.

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