South Africa court to hear DA case against Zuma – BBC News

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Jacob Zuma in Pretoria on December 14 2013Image copyright

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Jacob Zuma’s presidency has been dogged by controversy

South Africa’s parliament is debating a no-confidence motion in President Jacob Zuma, while a court is hearing a case to reinstate 738 corruption charges against him.

His office said he would oppose the court case, while the governing party vowed to defeat the motion.

The opposition is behind both actions, accusing him of taking a bribe.

Mr Zuma has denied the allegation, linked to a multi-billion dollar arms deal negotiated over a decade ago.

He was first charged in 2005, and fired as deputy president by then-President Thabo Mbeki.

After much legal and political wrangling the case was dropped in April 2009, and Mr Zuma went on to become president a month later.

At the time, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said phone-tap evidence, dubbed in the local media as “spy tapes”, suggested political interference in the investigation, and it was “unconscionable” to press ahead with the case.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party is challenging the decision in the High Court after a lengthy battle to obtain the “spy tapes”.

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DA leader Mmusi Maimane says Mr Zuma is a “sell out”

It said in court papers that the NPA’s decision was unconstitutional and irrational.

Mr Zuma’s office said, in a statement, that the court action was an “abuse of process by a political party in order to advance a political agenda”.

Mr Zuma was confident that the NPA’s decision would “withstand any scrutiny”, the statement added.

‘Spiralling downward’

During a noisy parliamentary session, DA leader Mmusi Maimane, described Mr Zuma as a sell-out whose main aim was self-enrichment.

South Africa was “spiralling downward, and doing so at an alarmingly fast rate” under his presidency, the party added in a statement.

The governing African National Congress (ANC) party, which commands an overwhelming majority, said it would defeat the motion.

Despite the “frivolous antics” of the DA, its confidence in Mr Zuma remained unshaken, the party said in a statement.

Mr Zuma, a former ANC intelligence chief, has been dogged by controversy throughout him time in government.

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The government used some $23m (£15m) of state money to upgrade Mr Zuma’s Nkandla home

Last month, he conceded in court that he needed to pay the government for money used to upgrade his private home, including the building of a swimming pool, amphitheatre, chicken run and cattle enclosure.

That case was brought by the DA and left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party after Mr Zuma failed to pay the money, despite a ruling against him by an independent anti-corruption body in 2014.

In December, South Africa’s currency went into a tail spin after having three finance ministers in a week.

In 2005, Mr Zuma’s former financial adviser Schabir Shaik was convicted of corruption.

South Africa court to hear DA case against Zuma – BBC News