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Zuma given November 30 deadline ahead of South Africa decision on graft charges
October 20, 2017 / 2:41 PM / a month ago

Zuma given November 30 deadline ahead of South Africa decision on graft charges

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has given President Jacob Zuma until Nov. 30 to make submissions before it decides whether to reinstate 783 corruption charges filed against him before he became president, it said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: South Africa's President Jacob Zuma gestures during the last day of the six-day meeting of the African National Congress 5th National Policy Conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Soweto, South Africa, July 5, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

The Supreme Court of Appeal last Friday upheld a High Court ruling to reinstate the charges against Zuma. They were set aside in April 2009 by the then-head of the NPA, paving the way for Zuma to run for president later that year.

The ruling by the appeals court amplified calls for Zuma, 75, to step down before his term as president ends in 2019. A spokesman for Zuma was not immediately available.

Zuma has faced a series of corruption allegations, most recently over leaked emails that suggest his friends the influential Gupta family may have used their influence to secure state contracts for their companies.

Zuma and the Guptas deny wrongdoing.

Following last Friday’s ruling, the NPA was required to make a decision on the charges, which relate to a 30 billion rand ($2 billion) government arms deal arranged in the 1990s.

Zuma requested the NPA to give him a chance to make representations before deciding whether to proceed against him.

On Friday, the NPA accepted that request but said any further submissions by Zuma should be on issues not previously considered by authorities.

The NPA also asked anti-corruption officials to report on the availability of the witnesses in the case by Nov. 30.

Mmusi Maimane, leader of the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, welcomed the NPA’s action but said in a statement: ”We are of the belief that Jacob Zuma is being afforded special treatment .... Any other person would be hauled before a court and charged.

It was unclear how long the NPA would take to decide on whether to charge Zuma after receiving his submissions. It was also unclear what would happen to the charges if the NPA decides not to proceed.

Reporting by James Macharia; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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