South Africa’s High Court ruled on Friday that President Jacob Zuma’s appointment of a state prosecutor responsible for deciding whether to reinstate corruption charges against him was not valid and should be set aside immediately.
“The appointment of Shaun Abrahams as the National Director of Public Prosecutions is reviewed, declared invalid and set aside,” Judge President Dunstan Mlambo said at the Pretoria High Court.
In October the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld an earlier decision by a lower court that the nearly 800 corruption charges filed against Zuma before he became president be reinstated.
It then fell to Abrahams as public prosecutor to decide whether or not the National Prosecuting Authority should pursue a case against Zuma.
The charges against Zuma relate to a 30 billion rand ($2 billion) government arms deal arranged in the late 1990s and have amplified calls for Zuma to step down before his term as president ends in 2019.
Zuma appointed Abrahams as chief state prosecutor in 2015.
“In our view, President Zuma would be clearly conflicted in having to appoint a National Director of Public Prosecutions, given the background … and particularly the ever present spectre of the many criminal charges against him that have not gone away,” Judge Mlambo said in the ruling.
The court ruled that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa should appoint a new public prosecutor within 60 days.