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SCA to hear Zuma graft appeal

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Tuesday announced it would hear an appeal later this month of a ruling that threw out corruption charges against ANC president Jacob Zuma.

The prosecution of Zuma has divided the African National Congress and led to the removal of former president Thabo Mbeki, who was accused of meddling in the case.

A spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, which has spearheaded the case against Zuma, confirmed a media report that the court in Bloemfontein would hear arguments on November 28 and said the state would be ready.

”We welcome the opportunity to have these issues finalised at the earliest opportunity,” said NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali.

Judge Chris Nicholson dismissed bribery, fraud and other charges against the ANC leader in September and suggested there was high-level political involvement in the prosecution. The ANC, now dominated by Zuma supporters, forced Mbeki to resign about a week later.

The ANC’s argument that the case should be dropped has failed to sway prosecutors, who have spent years investigating Zuma, first for his role in an arms scandal and later for his relationship with his financial adviser Schabir Shaik, who was convicted of fraud.

They have said new charges could be reinstated against Zuma before the end of the year.

Zuma has said he will step down as ANC leader only if a court proves he is guilty. He has denied the charges.

Re-opening the case would cast a cloud over Zuma, perhaps overlapping with his campaign for the presidency in a general election that is expected around April 2009.

It also could give ammunition to a new breakaway party which argues the ANC’s handling of the graft case undermines the rule of law. – Reuters

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Paul Simao
Guest Author

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