Zuma to face the music? High court blocks corruption charges appeal

PRETORIA, June 24 (Reuters) – South African President Jacob Zuma failed on Friday in his appeal against a court ruling that corruption charges against him be reinstated, another setback for the leader who has been facing calls for his resignation.

Protesters call for the removal of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma as the country commemorates the anniversary of the country's first democratic elections in Durban, South Africa, April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Rogan Ward
Protesters call for the removal of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma.

The High Court in Pretoria said Zuma and National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams, who had appealed the earlier ruling alongside the president, had no grounds to do so.

The same court had in April ordered a review of a 2009 decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to set aside hundreds of charges against Zuma. The 2009 decision by the NPA allowed Zuma to run for president the same month.

It was not immediately clear if Zuma would appeal Friday’s ruling, but legal analysts said both he and the NPA could lodge a petition to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

The hundreds of corruption charges relate to a major government arms deal arranged in the late 1990s.

The South African leader has been beset by scandal during his tenure, but has managed to hold on to his post with backing from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.

Local elections in August pose a major risk for Zuma’s party, which is facing a strong challenge from opponents seeking to capitalize on what they see as the president’s missteps.

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