February 28, 2018 / 6:00 PM / 2 years ago

Zuma-appointed chief prosecutor fights for job in South Africa's top court

FILE PHOTO - National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams speaks during a media briefing in Pretoria, South Africa, May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s chief prosecutor, who was ordered to step down by a court that found it improper that a Jacob Zuma-appointee should decide if the then-president should be prosecuted, appealed that ruling on Wednesday.

The Constitutional Court, the country’s highest, heard the appeal by Shaun Abrahams against the Dec. 8 decision that ruled his appointment invalid. It will announce its decision at a later, unspecified, date.

Abrahams kept the post of National Director of Public Prosecutions pending the appeal and has said he would announce his decision on whether to bring charges against Zuma in mid-March.

The charges against Zuma relate to a 30 billion rand ($2.6 billion) government arms deal arranged in the late 1990s, one of the legal and political problems that led to calls for him to resign, as he finally did this month.

Zuma has denied wrongdoing and Abrahams denies protecting him from prosecution.

Several civil rights groups asked the Constitutional Court to confirm the December ruling, and remove Abrahams from office.

Zuma had filed his own appeal against the December ruling, in his capacity as president, but his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, withdrew the challenge.

($1 = 11.7060 rand)

Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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