South Africa's President Jacob Zuma
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has been urged to resign following growing discontent and allegations of corruption Reuters

South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has decided, on 23 May, to not reinstate nearly 800 corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma, dropped in 2009. The ruling came a few weeks after the High Court in Pretoria said dropping the 783 charges was "irrational" and did not follow correct procedure.

Chief prosecutor Shaun Abrahams said, on 23 May, he will appeal against the decision of the High Court, arguing corruption charges against Zuma should be reinstated.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), which had brought the motion to reinstate the charges, criticised the move as a tactic to delay Zuma's prosecution.

"The NPA waited until the 11th hour to announce its appeal – and in doing so effectively told the people of South Africa that more public money will fund the process to delay President Zuma from finally having his day in court," the DA said in a statement.

Abrahams, however, said his decision to appeal was impartial.

The charges against Zuma were withdrawn in 2009 by then Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe on grounds of alleged political interference in the case, related to a 1999 multi-billion-dollar arms deal.

Totalling 30bn rand (£2.5bn; $5bn), the deal enabled the ruling party African National Congress (ANC) to purchase weapons to modernise the country's defence force. Announced in 1999, it was the largest arms deal since the end of apartheid in 1994, and involved several European companies.

Zuma was dismissed as deputy-president in 2005 after his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik was convicted of corruption over the deal.

Mpshe made the decision after the emergence of recorded phone conversations, submitted as evidence in the case – the so-called 'spy tapes'. The controversial decision came a few months before the 2009 general election which saw Zuma emerging as president.

Zuma facing mounting pressure

The ruling came as Zuma is facing mounting pressure and has been urged to step down following growing discontent and allegations of corruption. The president is accused, among other things, of having close ties with the controversial Gupta family who are accused of wielding excessive political influence in the country. The Gupta family denies the allegations.

Earlier in April, a commission set up by Zuma cleared those involved in the deal of any wrongdoing.

Zuma was also at risk of being impeached in April after the country's Constitutional Court ruled that the leader, and the National Assembly, breached the constitution for failing to repay state funds used to renovate Zuma's Nkandla private residence, in KwaZulu-Natal province.