S.African court allows review of dropped Zuma graft case
South African appeals judges ruled Tuesday that the prosecuting authority's decision to drop a graft prosecution against President Jacob Zuma just before he took office three years ago, can be reviewed.
The Supreme Court of Appeal in the central city of Bloemfontein said in a ruling that the “decision of 6 April 2009 to discontinue the prosecution … is held to be subject to review”.
The ruling came after the main opposition Democratic Alliance challenged the move by the former head of prosecutions to end the state’s long-running investigation into Zuma.
The judges emphasised that the exercise of public power was regulated by the courts through judicial review, and stressed that the courts were there to protect South Africa’s constitutional democracy.
“It means that none of us is above the law,” they wrote.
“It is a concept that we, as a nation, must cherish, nurture and protect. We must be intent on ensuring that it is ingrained in the national psyche. It is our best guarantee against tyranny, now and in the future.”
The corruption case involved a controversial arms deal, which has dogged South Africa’s politics for years, with Zuma probed for fraud, racketeering, embezzlement and money laundering.
The case was dropped weeks ahead of national elections amid claims of abuses of the legal process by top officials, allegedly for political gain amid a power tussle within the ruling African National Congress.
The ANC leader is running for re-election this year in party elections, where he will have to battle rising internal tensions, with success virtually guaranteeing him another term as president.