JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s Constitutional Court has told the state prosecutor it cannot appeal a ruling to reinstate corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma, another setback for the embattled leader.
The High Court in April ordered a review of a National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decision to set aside hundreds of corruption charges against Zuma, calling it “irrational”. That decision allowed Zuma to run for president in 2009.
The High Court has already refused the NPA’s attempt to appeal that ruling. After that, the NPA approached the Constitutional Court while Zuma went to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which is yet to rule on the matter.
“The Constitutional Court has considered this application for leave to appeal. It has concluded that it is not in the interest of justice for this court to hear the matter at this stage,” the court said in an order dated Sept. 28.
“The application for leave to appeal is dismissed.”
NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku said the court was mindful of the fact that Zuma had petitioned the SCA on the same matter.
“The matter at the SCA is still pending, so with that in mind they cannot adjudicate on a matter that can come back to them,” Mfaku said.
The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said the appeals were attempts by the NPA and Zuma to delay him having his day in court.
“The DA has argued that there are no reasonable prospects of success nor are there any other compelling reasons why the appeal should be heard,” it said in a statement.
The scandals swirling around Zuma contributed to the worst election showing by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in local polls in August, intensifying calls for his resignation.
The prospect of Zuma’s corruption charges being reinstated follows a damning constitutional court judgment against him in March. The court said he breached the constitution by refusing to refund some of the 240 million rand ($17 million) of state money spent on refurbishing his private residence.
Zuma has since repaid some of the money.
($1 = 13.8635 rand)
Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Ed Cropley