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A court ruling that effectively reinstates corruption charges against African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma could hardly have come at a worse moment for him and the party that has dominated South Africa since the end of apartheid.
There appears little doubt that Zuma will be the party’s presidential candidate ahead of elections expected around April, but the ANC now faces its toughest electoral test yet with hefty graft charges hanging over its man.
Prosecutors say the ruling means Zuma remains charged with corruption, fraud and money laundering. This might severely hurt his image, internationally and at home, during a battle to fend off a challenge from the new party of ANC dissidents called COPE. The ANC is still expected to win, but maybe without such a sweeping parliamentary majority to be able to shape laws as it wishes.
The news brought renewed concerns of political instability and the rand fell to a one-month low.