A judge has postponed until 25 August the hearing in the case against the president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), Jacob Zuma, who faces charges of corruption, money-laundering and racketeering in connection with a controversial $5 billion arms deal in 1999.

This means that he could appear in court as a serving head of state if he wins the upcoming presidential elections as widely expected.

A high court halted legal proceedings against Zuma in October last year on allegations of political interference. However this ruling was overturned by the supreme court in January and the charges were reinstated. The October stop led to a major rift within the ANC, with the forced resignation of president Thabo Mbeki and the formation of a breakaway party, Congress of the People (COPE), made up of some of Mbeki