South Africa’s supreme court has ruled that Jacob Zuma, the leader of the governing ANC, can be recharged with corruption and fraud.

Judges overturned an earlier high court ruling dismissing charges against Mr Zuma, saying the judge had “overstepped” his authority. State prosecutors can now decide to reinstate the charges, which Mr Zuma has always denied.

He is tipped to become the country’s next president in upcoming elections. The 16 charges of corruption, money-laundering and racketeering stem from a controversial $5bn 1999 arms deal.

Despite the Bloemfontein appeal court ruling on Monday, Mr Zuma will remain the ANC’s contender to run the country after the forthcoming general election, says the BBC’s Southern Africa correspondent Peter Biles.

Mr Zuma has said he would only resign from public office if convicted. The charges against Mr Zuma were dismissed on a technicality last September.

But the Supreme Court said Judge Chris Nicholson in the High Court “overstepped the limits of its authority” by suggesting there may have been political interference in the prosecution of Mr Zuma.

Judge Louis Harms said the claims “were not based on any evidence or allegation. They were instead part of the judge’s own conspiracy theory and not one advanced by Mr Zuma.” That suggestion led Thabo Mbeki to stand down as president and his replacement by Kgalema Motlanthe, an ally of the ANC leader.

Mr Motlanthe has said Mr Zuma would lead the ANC into this year’s elections even if he was charged with corruption.



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