South African court rules Zuma must face corruption charges

A South African court ruled that the decision by prosecutors to drop a corruption case against President Jacob Zuma seven years ago was irrational and should be set aside, opening the way for the 783 charges against him to be reinstated.

Then acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe was under pressure and made an “irrational decision” to dismiss the charges in April 2009, ignoring the importance of his oath of office to act independently and without fear or favor, Judge Aubrey Ledwaba said at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Friday, citing the ruling by a full bench of judges. Zuma should face the charges in the indictment, he said.

“It’s not the sort of decision that’s going to be easy to overturn on appeal, because it seems to me, it is so well-reasoned,” James Grant, an attorney at the South African High Court, said by phone from Johannesburg. “It’s a very powerful judgment because its a unanimous decision by three judges saying that abuse of process is not something that the prosecution service may rely on.”

The ruling intensifies pressure on the governing African National Congress, which is fighting off increased calls from opposition parities, churches and civil-rights organizations to dismiss Zuma as the country prepares for local government elections on Aug. 3. The 74-year-old leader has been

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