South Africa court reinstates Zuma’s corruption charges

By Hassan Isilow

PRETORIA, South Africa (AA) – A high court in South Africa ruled Friday that it was irrational for a former chief state prosecutor to withdraw 783 charges of corruption against President Jacob Zuma seven years ago.

In remarks made at the Pretoria High Court, Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba said: “This court finds the decision by [former National Prosecuting Authority head Mokotedi] Mphse to discontinue charges against Mr. Zuma as irrational and should be reviewed and set aside.”

The main opposition party Democratic Alliance had filed the application in court to have the corruption charges reinstated against Zuma.

“Mr. Zuma should face the charges as applied in the indictment,” Ledwaba said in his ruling.

Mpshe had dropped the charges against Zuma in 2009 weeks before he was elected president.

At the time, the former prosecutor said he was discontinuing the case after telephone recordings between senior officials of ex-President Thabo Mbeki emerged showing they had manipulated the case against Zuma for political reasons.

Charges against Zuma included corruption, racketeering and fraud linked to a 1999 multi-billion government arms deal.

Judge Ledwaba said it was a court of law that should have ordered the case closure, not Mphse.

In remarks made to the media at the high court shortly after the judgment, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said: “I am absolutely delighted. Today is a great victory for the rule of law.”

The ruling African National Congress said the judgment was solely a judicial review of an administrative action taken by the National Prosecuting Authority and it should not be been seen as a judgment of guilt against the president.

Last month, the constitutional court found Zuma had violated his oath of office by refusing to comply with an anti-corruption watchdog to pay back millions of public money used to upgrade his private home.