Court refuses to hear corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma
South Africa’s Constitutional Court (ConCourt) on Friday refused to hear the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) appeal on the judgement handed down by the North Gauteng High Court, which reinstated the 783 fraud, racketeering and corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma. It would not be in the interests of justice to hear the NPA’s request for leave to appeal the reinstatement of corruption charges against Zuma at this stage, the ConCourt ruled, Xinhua reported.
In response to the ruling, the Presidency said it has noted the decision. The president awaits the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal in respect of a petition which he launched on the same matter, presidential spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said.
The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said the NPA’s move highlights yet again the deliberate attempts by the NPA and Zuma “to do everything possible to delay Zuma having his day in court.” The DA has argued that there are no reasonable prospects of success nor are there any other compelling reasons why the appeal should be heard.
It is time for Zuma and his captured institutions of state, to stop delaying the inevitable, the party said. Zuma, like every other South African charged with a crime, must have his day in court and answer for the 783 charges against him, the DA said.
In April last year, a full bench of North Gaugeng High Court ruled that the NPA’s 2009 decision to drop the corruption charges against Zuma was null and void and thus set it aside. However, Zuma and the NPA lodged an application asking for leave to appeal the decision on the grounds that it allows the court to interfere with the prerogative of the NPA to independently decide whether to prosecute or not.
In early 1999, Zuma was charged with fraud and corruption in contracts worth about 30 billion rand (about 2 billion U.S. dollars at current rate) in an arms procurement deal with European countries. The NPA withdrew the charges, citing conspiracy against Zuma, weeks before the 2009 election in which Zuma won the presidency.