Former South Africa President Jacob Zuma. Photo: AFP

Former President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, faces 18 criminal charges over 783 payments he allegedly received which were linked to a multi-billion rand 1990s arms deal.

Zuma may also face charges over state corruption arising from his links to a controversial Indian business family, the Guptas.

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The former President until Wednesday when he resigned on live TV, faces an uncertain future as his legal challenges mount and his support network crumbles.

Analysts sketch several scenarios for Zuma, an anti-apartheid activist who rose to the presidency only to become thickly tarred by a reputation for graft.

These include prosecution over a series of corruption charges and then securing a presidential clemency from his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa.

He may also quietly disappear into retirement in his home province of Kwa-Zulu Natal — or even skip the country, according to these narratives.

The charges were set aside just weeks before he became president in 2009. It will now be down to the National Director of Prosecutions to decide whether to reinstate them.

A court recently ruled that the Zuma-appointed chief prosecutor Shaun Abrahams — dubbed “Shaun the Sheep” by media — is compromised and must be replaced.

Ramaphosa’s choice of successor could directly influence the outcome of the decision on whether the charges against Zuma are revived.

If convicted, Zuma could face decades in jail. Zuma previously spent 10 years in jail on the notorious Robben Island between 1963 and 1973 after being convicted by the apartheid regime of conspiring to overthrow the government.

If Zuma is prosecuted and convicted, the next question is whether Ramaphosa would intervene to pardon the erstwhile president.