South African president denied right to appeal corruption ruling

South African President Jacob Zuma was on Friday denied the right to appeal a court ruling that said corruption charges against him should be reinstated.

A ruling from Deputy Judge President of the North Gauteng High Court, Aubrey Ledwaba, said there was “no merit” in the arguments for an appeal made by Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority.

The Pretoria-based high court had in April ordered a review of a 2009 NPA decision that cleared Zuma of 783 charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering, related to a multibillion-dollar arms deal.

It found the NPA’s decision as “irrational,” opening the way for the corruption charges to be reinstated.

The NPA had justified the decision to drop the charges by saying that phone calls – known as the “spy tapes” – recorded between officials in the administration of then President Thabo Mbeki revealed a “political conspiracy” against Zuma.

The intention was allegedly to favour Zuma’s rival, Mbeki.

“The prosecution against President Jacob must proceed, and he must have his day in court,” opposition party Democratic Alliance said in a statement shortly after Friday’s ruling.

The NPA or Zuma could, however, still petition the Supreme Court of Appeal to review the latest ruling.