Zuma appeared in the Durban High Court on Friday on charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering.
The original charges against Mr Zuma, which arose from 783 suspicious payments he received, were controversially dropped in 2009 shortly before he was appointed South Africa's president for the first time.
A court in April 2016 said that the NPA's decision to withdraw the charges was irrational and made under political pressure, adding that Mr Zuma should face the charges as outlined in the indictment. Zuma has also survived several motions of no confidence.
Zuma was the leader of the ANC and the nation's deputy president when the arms deal was finalized in 1999.
The former president's supporters have reportedly descended on the city to rally for him. But the deal effectively gives Zuma unlimited access to legal representation and raises the possibility that his case will be tied up in the courts for years.
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Slamming the Congress president, he said, "When we lost two Lok Sabha seats (in UP) recently, Rahul baba distributed candies ". From Maharashtra to Haryana from Jharkhand to Manipur, Assam and Uttarakhand, BJP is everywhere.
Zuma also says he doesn't understand why he is facing the same charges that were dropped over 10 years ago.
The case signals a dramatic turnaround in South Africa where Zuma held a tight grip on power for nearly a decade before his former deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, won the leadership of the ruling African National Congress in December and took over as president in February.
The Zuma of old is still here - the crowd pleaser, the charmer and tactical politician.
The speed with which prosecutors booked his day in court is a sign of the loss of control Mr Zuma has suffered since his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, became head of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in December.
"In Zuma's case it seems that it is guilty until proven innocent", said the BLF regional spokesman Thobani Zikalala, who warned that a campaign by opposition parties against Zuma would preclude a fair trial.
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Despite the conviction and several other corruption charges against him, da Silva leads all preference polls for the election. He is facing 12 years in jail on charges of accepting a bribe but had asked to remain free during his appeal.
Mr Zuma's remaining supporters argue that he is being targeted for backing a radical economic reform agenda.
His trial is likely to be a lengthy one, with a battle brewing over whether the state should keep paying Mr Zuma's legal bills.
At the same time, national party leaders explicitly discouraged members from wearing party uniforms while showing support for Zuma in his court appearance - a directive that was roundly defied Friday.
Zuma said he was being treated like a prisoner, even by the people he trusted and that just because he was charged did not mean he was guilty.
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Puigdemont's attorneys in Germany to get involved in the affair, insisting that it belongs in the hands of the justice system. Catalan parliament president Roger Torrent described Mr Puigdemont's conditional release as "very good news" on Twitter.