South Africa’s former president, Jacob Zuma, has edged closer to coming to trial for corruption after a High Court dismissed an appeal on Friday.
Zuma, who is facing numerous corruption charges, was meant to stand trial on October 15, but his lawyers appealed the decision.
The High Court in Pietermaritzburg, in Zuma’s eastern home province of KwaZulu-Natal, dismissed his appeal with costs.
The trial is now expected to go ahead next year, however, Zuma could approach the Supreme Court of Appeal.
This would further extend the already lengthy legal saga that dates back to 1999 over alleged kickbacks in a multi-billion-dollar arms deal.
The deal, with French company Thales, was overseen by Zuma when he was vice president.
Zuma’s legal team has continued to argue that charges against the 77-year-old should be dropped due to political interference and an unreasonable delay in prosecution.
But the National Prosecuting Authority argued that there was a clear public interest in ensuring the prosecution, and no evidence of political motivation for the charges.
In 2007, Zuma was charged with 16 counts of racketeering, corruption, money laundering and fraud.
The charges – relating to 783 payments in connection to Thales – were dropped before he became president in 2009.
In early 2018 the NPA served a fresh indictment, deciding Zuma must face trial.
Zuma was forced to resign as president under intense pressure from his African National Congress party shortly beforehand.