Opposition parties in South Africa want the country’s leader President Jacob Zuma to resign following the High Court judgment which reinstated 783 corruption and fraud charges against him.
The charges had been set aside in 2009 by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), but for seven years the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has been fighting to have the charges restored.
On Friday, the High Court in Pretoria said NPA’s decision to drop the charges had been irrational.
The new judgment follows a recent Constitutional Court ruling against President Zuma for failing to implement the findings of the Public Protector for non-security features in his Nkandla private home.
The opposition parties believe the reinstatement of the charges is another convincing reason for the beleaguered leader to step down.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said they were calling for Mr Zuma to step down.
“He must resign and allow the prosecution and investigation to go on uninterrupted,” he said.
But the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has, once again, jumped to its leader’s defence cautioning that the court had not found the President guilty of any charges.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said they note the fact that the application before the court was the application for review and has nothing to do with the guilt or not.
“But what is important is that there are no charges against the President at the moment, what the court has ordered is for the court to review its decision,” Mr Kodwa said.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said if Mr Zuma appeals the decision, he would ensure Mr Zuma has his day in court.
“Those charges must be reinstated. What we are simply saying is that the charges must be put to Jacob Zuma, he must have his day in court because ultimately what that means is that, we are not pronouncing guilt on Jacob Zuma. We are simply asking for him to face prosecution,” Mr Maimane said.
Minority political parties such as the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Congress of the People (COPE), United Democratic Movement (UDM), Inkatha Freedom Parties (IFP) and Freedom Front Plus also joined in the calls for Mr Zuma’s head.
They warned the South African leader and the ruling ANC not to try to evade this protracted legal battle by appealing it.
In the last six months, Mr Zuma has survived three impeachment attempts.
Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters party won a massive show of support as it targeted white privilege and the ruling African National Congress as it launched its local election manifesto on Saturday.
Around 40,000 people turned Orlando stadium in Soweto into a sea of red as supporters roared their approval of fiery EFF leader Julius Malema’s promises to seize white-owned land without compensation and nationalise the banks.
The huge turnout was a shot across the bows of the ANC, which failed to fill a similar stadium during the launch of its own manifesto in the coastal city of East London two weeks ago.