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South African court allows Jacob Zuma corruption case review

The opposition Democratic Alliance had requested a review of the decision to drop criminal charges against South African President Jacob Zuma just weeks ahead of the 2009 election.

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The president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, looks on during the opening plenary, called Leaders Dialogue on Climate Change, of the seventh annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative on Sept. 20, 2011, in New York City. (Daniel Berehulak/AFP/Getty Images)

JOHANNESBURG — A South African court ruled today that President Jacob Zuma's corruption case can be reviewed.

The Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a request by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) to allow access to records related to the suspension of criminal charges against Zuma.

The DA had asked for a judicial review of the decision by then public prosecutions director Mokotedi Mpshe to drop corruption charges against Zuma, mere weeks before the 2009 elections in which Zuma was elected president.

The corruption charges relate to a controversial $5 billion arms deal in 1999, which led to Zuma's financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, being convicted of fraud and corruption.

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The unanimous court decision, written by Judge Mahomed Navsa, highlighted the importance of upholding the Constitution, with judicial reviews "our best guarantee against tyranny."

"It is a concept that we, as a nation, must cherish, nurture and protect. We must be intent on ensuring that it is ingrained in the national psyche. It is our best guarantee against tyranny, now and in the future," the ruling said (see full text).

The decision comes as Zuma faces increased criticism from some members of his party ahead of a major African National Congress (ANC) elective conference in December.

A spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority told the South African Press Association that the agency will study the appeal court's judgment to determine next steps.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/south-africa/120320/jacob-zuma-corruption-case-review-allowed-court-decision