- corruption - Jacob Zuma - justice - South Africa
A South African court on Friday threw out a corruption case against ruling ANC party chief Jacob Zuma, who is at the forefront in the race to become the country's president.
"It is declared that the decision taken by the National Prosecuting Authority (...) to prosecute the applicant (Zuma) is invalid and set aside," judge Chris Nicholson of the Pietermaritzburg High Court said.
The public gallery of the court, filled with many of the African National Congress' top brass, erupted in cheers when the ruling was read out.
Outside some 10,000 of his supporters also broke out in song and dance when they heard the news.
The judges said that the case against Zuma was thrown out because the prosecutor's office had not heard the ANC chief before deciding to go ahead and charge him.
"I believe the national directorate of public prosecutions ought to have heard the applicant's representation," Nicholson said.
However he stressed that the ruling was a procedural decision and did not reflect in any way on the guilt or innocence of Zuma.
"I must repeat that this application has nothing to do with the guilt or otherwise of the applicant. It deals only with the procedural point relating to his right to making representations before the respondent makes a decision on whether to charge him," the judge explained.