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Africa

Prosecutors to make announcement on Zuma graft charges

Video by Louis MASSIE , Sophie DAVIDSON

Latest update : 2009-04-06

South African prosecutors are expected to announce whether corruption charges against ruling ANC leader Jacob Zuma will be dropped, in a case that has threatened to damage his leadership after this month's election.

REUTERS - South African prosecutors will announce on Monday whether corruption charges against ruling ANC leader Jacob Zuma will be dropped, in a case that has threatened to damage his leadership after this month's election.

 

Zuma's African National Congress (ANC) is expected to win the April 22 election and choose him as president after a remarkable comeback that has been closely followed by investors looking for political stability in Africa's biggest economy.

 

A decision to drop corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering charges would end a long legal saga that has raised doubts over his ability to govern after what is expected to be the most closely contested election since the end of apartheid.

 

A High Court judge dismissed the charges but the decision was overturned by the appeals court in January. The National Prosecuting Authority is due to announce its decision at 0830 GMT on Monday.

 

Citing unnamed sources, the local Sunday Times reported that the charges would be scrapped.

Zuma denies wrongdoing and says he is the victim of a political conspiracy. His lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

 

Seeing the charges dropped would be a great relief for the resilient Zuma after a battle to clear his name.

 

But he still must deliver on promises to spend more on millions of poor South Africans while reassuring investors who worry he could steer the economy to the left.

 

ANC supporters have become increasingly disillusioned with corruption scandals and power struggles that saw Zuma's rival, former President Thabo Mbeki, pushed out of office.

 

The breakaway Congress of the People (COPE) could reduce the ANC's dominance in parliament in the face of growing public anger over graft, poor services, poverty and crime.

 

Critics say the ANC has betrayed the struggle against white-minority rule and hurt South Africa's image.

 

In another political storm last week, the ANC and its allies condemned Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has said Zuma is unfit to lead, for his criticism of the politician. The ANC Youth League said Tutu was "making a fool of himself".

 

Zuma was deputy president for six years before he was sacked in 2005 by Mbeki after being implicated in a trial that saw his former financial adviser convicted of fraud and corruption charges. Zuma was acquitted of rape charges in May 2006.

 

 

Date created : 2009-04-06

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