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South African Presidential Hopeful Attempts Court Action to Blunt Corruption Probe

The head of South Africa’s ruling party and presumed presidential candidate Jacob Zuma is asking the nation’s highest court for help in his corruption case. The constitutional court is holding a hearing Tuesday and Wednesday in Zuma’s attempt to block potential evidence from being used against him at his corruption trial.

VOA reporter Delia Robertson is following developments. From Johannesburg, she spoke to English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the case.

“He is seeking a Constitutional Court ruling on an appeal he wants to make to our Supreme Court of Appeals regarding documents and papers that were seized from his house and his attorneys’ files in 2005 in connection with a corruption case against him. And the Supreme Court of Appeals earlier ruled that he may not appeal their decision, that the raids were legal and took place properly. And so, he’s asking the Constitutional Court to rule that the Supreme Court’s decision was incorrect,” he says.

Robertson says prosecutors seized many boxes of files belonging to Zuma and his attorneys.

“(The charges) relate to a case of corruption and racketeering and fraud that is being prepared against Mr. Zuma and for which he will appear in court (in August)…. His then legal advisor, Schabir Sheik, was convicted in 2005 on charges of corruption and fraud in connection with the same case. And Mr. Zuma is now fighting those charges himself and is seeking to have as much evidence ruled out of the case as he can.”

Zuma is also trying to prevent South African authorities from getting documents he has in Mauritius. These pertain to meetings between Zuma and the director of Phint, an arms company, which the prosecution alleges are evidence of corruption.”