South Africa president appeals ruling reinstating corruption charges News
South Africa president appeals ruling reinstating corruption charges

[JURIST] South African President Jacob Zuma, along with the state prosecutor, began an appeal on Friday of a ruling reinstating 783 corruption charges [JURIST report] against him. The charges were initially dropped by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) [official website] in 2009, opening his bid for the presidency. The High Court last April ordered a review of the decision of the “irrational” decision by the NPA. NPA officials, including NPA lawyer Hilton Epstein, believe the court exceeded its authority and that the prosecutors have a certain discretion in deciding when to bring charges. The NPA believes the decision of the High Court will dilute their own power. The corruption charges are linked [BBC report] to Zuma’s alleged participation in a 1999 arms deal worth billions of dollars and are believed by Zuma to be an attempt to thwart his chances in the upcoming presidential election. The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) called the appeal a delaying tactic.

The South African president has been embroiled in legal trouble for the past several months. Zuma evaded impeachment [JURIST report] in April after the African National Congress (ANC) [official website] 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 [JURIST report] 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 report] as African National Congress 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.