South African leader Jacob Zuma was facing fresh scrutiny today after 783 corruption charges against him were revived. The president was told by the High Court that the decision to drop the case against him seven years ago was irrational and should be reviewed. The judges’ ruling does not automatically reinstate the charges against Mr Zuma, a decision that can only come from the prosecuting authorities. However, it will heap pressure on the scandal-plagued leader to resign and threatens his ruling African National Congress, which is facing a strong challenge from opponents in upcoming local elections.
Jacob Zuma is not fit to be the president of this country. The decision that they took was irrational and we still maintain that Jacob Zuma is corrupt. Jacob Zuma must face the full might of the law
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane
The hundreds of corruption charges relate to a major government arms deal in the late 1990s. They were dropped in 2007 when national prosecutor Mokotedi Mpshe decided phone intercepts presented by Mr Zuma’s legal team suggested they were part of a political plot against him. However, the High Court ruled Mpshe’s thinking and behaviour was irrational, especially his failure to disclose his decision to prosecutors until the moment he announced it to the nation at a news conference. The president’s office said he was still deciding whether to appeal. Last month, Mr Zuma was forced to pay back millions of dollars after a court ruled he broke the constitution over improvements carried out at his private mansion.
The credibility of the presidency and the NPA are at stake due this a very far-reaching decision
Prof Shadrack Gutto, law lecturer at the University of South Africa