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Jacob Zuma may face corruption charges after appeal denied

[JURIST] A South African court on Friday denied [decision, PDF] President Jacob Zuma's appeal of a prior court ruling [JURIST report] that he should face nearly 800 corruption charges. Judge Aubrey Ledwaba stated "[w]e seriously considered whether the appeal would have reasonable prospects of success and came to the conclusion that there are not merits in the arguments." Consequently, the court further stated "prosecution against President Jacob must proceed and he must have his day in court." Zuma had initiated his appeal [JURIST report] of the lower court decision two weeks ago. Though Zuma is not eligible for office again, the charges against Zuma could have harmful implications on his party, the African National Congress (ANC), as the Democratic Alliance (DA) [official website] and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) [party websites] hope to steal votes in the upcoming municipal elections.

The South African president has been embroiled in legal trouble for the past several months. Zuma evaded impeachment [JURIST report] in April after the ANC reaffirmed its support for the president. The move to impeach Zuma came from opposition leaders after the Constitutional Court [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in March that he had ignored the order of the Public Protector to personally repay the amounts determined by the National Treasury, as they relate to the "non-security" upgrades to his private residence. Zuma has been at the center of political controversy for years. Zuma was ousted as the country's deputy president in 2005 after an aide was convicted of corruption. He was also charged with rape, but he was ultimately acquitted and reinstated [JURIST reports] as ANC deputy vice president. In July 2008 the South African Constitutional Court rejected a motion [JURIST report] by Zuma to exclude evidence from the corruption trial. Zuma had argued [JURIST report] that evidence seized in 2005 raids by the Directorate of Special Investigations should be thrown out because the raids violated his rights to privacy and a fair trial. The court upheld the warrants used in the raids, confirming a November 2007 decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal. He was first charged with corruption in 2005, but those charges were later dismissed [JURIST reports] because prosecutors failed to follow proper procedures.

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