A South African High Court has on Friday morning, refused to grant permission to President Jacob Zuma and other prosecutors, to appeal against its ruling.
This is just as the Pretoria-based high court said that he should face his corruption charges over a 1999 arms deal worth billions of dollars.
A ruling from Deputy Judge President of the North Gauteng High Court, Aubrey Ledwaba, said there was “no merit” in the arguments for an appeal made by Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
The same court had in April 2016 held that a decision by the NPA in 2009 to drop the 783 charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering, related to a multibillion-dollar arms deal against Mr Zuma was irrational.
The National director of public prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, had asked the court for permission to appeal against the earlier ruling, saying prosecutors should be able to exercise discretion over whether an investigation should continue.
Rejecting the request, Ledwaba said:
“We seriously considered whether the appeal would have reasonable prospects of success and came to the conclusion that there are no merits in the arguments.”
The ruling is now a huge blow to Mr Zuma’s efforts to avoid standing trial.
The president can still take the case to the Supreme Court for appeal but it is difficult to see it overturning the unanimous ruling of the High Court.