South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal ruled on Friday that President Jacob Zuma can face prosecution over almost 800 charges of corruption relating to a 1990s arms deal.
Zuma had lodged a challenge at the court in Bloemfontein after a lower court decided in 2016 to reinstate the charges that were previously discontinued by prosecutors.
“The reasons for discontinuing the prosecution given… do not bear scrutiny,” said Supreme Court judge Eric Leach who read the ruling.
The opposition Democratic Alliance party had sought in 12 court appearances since 2009 to reactivate the charges over controversial post-apartheid military contracts which have dogged Zuma for much of his time in government.
The president, who is accused of corruption, fraud, money-laundering and racketeering, has always insisted he is innocent.
Zuma and other government officials were accused of taking kickbacks from the $5 billion (4.2 billion euros) purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and other arms manufactured by five European firms, including British military equipment maker BAE Systems and French company Thales.
Charges were first brought against Zuma in 2005 but dropped by prosecutors in 2009.
Speaker of the South African Parliament, Baleka Mbete, has cut short her participation at the International Parliamentary Union in Bangladesh, to address pressing political developments in the country.
Foremost among the issues are opposition parties’ request for a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma to be tabled before the Assembly this week.
Although the parliament is on recess, but the opposition parties want an urgent sitting to debate the motion.
Ms Mbete, who is also the Chairperson of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), told reporters at the OR Tambo Airport on Sunday that there will be consultations from Tuesday before a date can be set.
There are strong indications that 15 ministers of the South African cabinet might have been sacked.
This comes as part of the fall out of an urgent meeting of the African National Congress (ANC) convened on Thursday night by President Jacob Zuma.
According to report, no names have been released, although it is said that nine ministers and six deputies have been fired.
At an earlier news briefing, it was gathered that President Zuma had hinted on his intention to remove the Minister of Finance, based on an intelligence report which stated that the Minister had set up meetings with people who could push for a change in government.
Meanwhile, a party source said that the President is considering to step down in 2018, at least 12 months before his term ends as South African President.
Mr Zuma is due to be replaced as leader of the African National Congress (ANC) at a party conference in December, after serving his allocated two terms.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) failed to take control of President Jacob Zuma’s hometown of Nkandla, local election results showed on Thursday, a symbolic blow to the scandal-tinged Zuma.
Zuma survived an impeachment vote in April after the Constitutional Court said he breached the law by ignoring an order to repay some of the $16 million in state funds spent on renovating his private home in Nkandla, located in a poverty-stricken rural area of Kwa-Zulu Natal province.
“Nkandla” has become a household word in South Africa that is almost synonymous with graft.
The loss, in local polls that are the sternest test the ANC has faced since the end of apartheid in 1994, will also smart because it was at the hands of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), a Zulu nationalist party, which widened its tally in the area to 54 percent from 46 percent in 2011.
The ruling party garnered 44 percent.
Zuma, a traditional Zulu with four wives and an earthy style, has helped deliver the Zulu vote in the province for the ANC in elections, and cast his own vote in the area on Wednesday.
But the IFP, which mostly appeals to Zulus, had almost 5 percent of the national vote with most of the tally completed compared to 3.6 percent in the last local elections in 2011.
President Jacob Zuma and the ruling African National Congress’s popularity will be put to test as South Africans go to the polls for local elections.
The ANC has dominated the political landscape of South Africa since the first all-race elections in 1994, but Mr Zuma has had to weather scandal, after being ordered to repay taxpayers’ money spent on his private home.
Opinion polls see a close race in the capital Pretoria, economic-hub Johannesburg and other key cities, alongside the symbolic Nelson Mandela Bay municipality named after the anti-apartheid icon.
“I’m voting because I want access to electricity, water and other services. Unemployment is rife and I think voting will help change that,” William Mahlangu, 58, a pensioner, at a polling station in Pretoria told Reuters.
The ANC, at one point the main anti-apartheid party, is under pressure from two parties – the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters, who are competing in their first local elections under firebrand leader, Julius Malema.