Pressure Mounts on Zuma After South Africa Reinstates Corruption Charges

Siphiwe Sibeko  Reuters                       Former president Jacob Zuma announcing his resignation in February

Siphiwe Sibeko Reuters Former president Jacob Zuma announcing his resignation in February

South Africa's former President, Jacob Zuma, is to face prosecution for 16 charges of corruption, Chief Prosecutor Shaun Abrahams has confirmed.

It has since emerged that under Zuma, the Presidency paid out millions of rand on legal costs relating to the National Prosecuting Authority's decision to drop charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering against him.

A court past year ruled against prosecutors' 2009 decision to drop the corruption charges faced by Zuma months before he became president.

Zuma was told earlier on Friday of the decision to reinstate the charges first served on him in 2007 in a multi-billion rand‚ allegedly corrupt‚ deal.

"I was contacted by the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA] about three months ago‚ asking me if I will be prepared to be a witness should they decide to charge Zuma".

Shaun Abrahams said in Pretoria that he believed there were "reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution" and taking the case to court was the most appropriate way to face the charges, the BBC reported.

Charges against Zuma's co-accused, arms company Thint, now known as Thales, will also be reinstated.

"ANC reaffirms its confidence in our country's criminal justice system and our respect for the independence of the judiciary".

Analysts say Zuma will do nothing but go down without a fierce fight.

The former South African leader was beset by scandal during his tenure as president.

"We equally affirm our commitment to the constitutionally enshrined principle of equality of all before the law", said Magashule in a statement. Ramaphosa on Thursday said Zuma had agreed to pay back the money if he loses his case.

South Africa's High Court reinstated the charges in 2016 and the Supreme Court upheld that decision past year, rejecting an appeal by Zuma and describing the NPA's initial decision to set aside the charges as "irrational". The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing. An inquiry on the influence-peddling allegations is due to start soon.

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