South African court says embattled president must face corruption case

President Jacob Zuma arrives at Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, for the State of the Nation event on Feb. 11. (Mike Hutchings/AP)

In another blow to South Africa’s embattled president, a high court ruled Friday that a 2009 decision to drop 783 corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma should be set aside, calling the earlier decision “irrational” and saying that Zuma should face the charges.

It was Zuma’s second dose of bad news in South Africa’s courts in less than a month. In March, the nation’s highest court unanimously ruled that the president failed to uphold the constitution when he did not repay some of the public funds spent on upgrades to his private estate, Nkandla. That judgment — and a subsequent presidential apology that many South Africans felt was insufficient — was followed by a parliamentary vote to remove him from office. Zuma easily survived that vote with the backing of the governing African National Congress (ANC).

The failed motion did not, however, stop calls for Zuma to step down, as civil society groups and opposition parties continue to demand. As South Africans grapple with widespread unemployment and a weakened economy, many say their young democracy, full of promise just a few decades ago, is not heading in the right direction, and they

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