May 20, 2016 / 10:33 AM / 2 years ago

South African prosecutors to issue response to court ruling over dropped Zuma charges

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African state prosecutors will respond on Monday to a court ruling ordering the review of its 2009 decision to drop 783 corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma, a spokesman said on Friday.

President Jacob Zuma looks on as members of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party raise objections before being evicted from Parliament during his question and answer session in Cape Town, South Africa, May 17, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

The High Court ruled last month that the April 2009 decision to drop the charges, which allowed Zuma to run for president in elections the same month, was irrational and should be reviewed.

“We said initially that we’re applying our minds (on the ruling) ... We’re going to be briefing the media on Monday on the way forward,” the National Prosecuting Authority’s spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku said.

The hundreds of corruption charges relate to a major government arms deal arranged in the late 1990s.

Zuma said last month that an investigation into the deal had found no evidence of corruption or fraud. Critics denounced the findings as a cover-up and said they would continue to campaign for justice.

The ruling to review the decision to drop the charges was yet another blow for Zuma, who has been dogged by controversy for much of his presidency.

The Constitutional Court, the country’s top court, found in March that Zuma breached the law by ignoring an order to repay some of the $16 million in state funds spent on renovating his private residence.

Zuma leads his African National Congress party to local elections in August, where he is facing a strong challenge from opposition parties seeking to capitalize on what they see as the president’s missteps.

Reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa; Editing by James Macharia

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