South Africa opposition demands court date in Zuma graft case

South Africa President Jacob Zuma. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

South Africa's opposition parties want hundreds of corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma reinstated following Friday's Supreme Court of Appeal ruling that he can face prosecution.

The President and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) were appealing against a 2016 High Court judgement which reinstated the 783 graft charges.

This was after state prosecution, in 2009, decided to drop the charges against Mr Zuma over a controversial 30 billion rand ($2 billion) arms deal of the 1990s, clearing way for him to run for presidency.

On Friday, the Supreme Court upheld the High Court’s verdict that the former head of NPA Mokotedi Mpshe had made an “irrational” decision.

The NPA will now decide whether to pursue the prosecution.

Opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party, which took the matter to court, called for the NPA to institute the charges.

Win for justice

DA leader Mmusi Maimane told journalists in Pretoria that the ruling was a win for justice.

"I will be writing to the National Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Shaun Abrahams, insisting that Jacob Zuma is served with an indictment and appears in court at the soonest available date. Advocate Abrahams must commit to reinstating all 783 charges, and furnish the people of South Africa with a date by which these charges will be processed,” he said.

Mr Maimane added that they expected a response from the state prosecution within 10 days.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) also demanded that President Zuma has his day in court.

"President Zuma must man-up and face the music," said party leader, Bantu Holomisa.

He added that the NPA had lost its credibility to handle the case and called on Parliament to appoint three retired judges who will look through the charges and advise the state prosecutors.

Meanwhile, President Zuma's office has said in a statement that the Friday court verdict against him was "disappointing", but anticipated.

The office added that president expected NPA to consider representations from his legal team before making a decision about whether to prosecute him.

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