South African judge dismisses Zuma corruption case

PIETERMARITZBURG, South Africa (Reuters) – A South African judge on Friday threw out corruption charges against ANC leader Jacob Zuma, clearing the way for him to become the country's next president.

Judge Chris Nicholson granted Zuma’s application to have corruption charges dismissed and ordered the state to pay the ruling party leader’s legal costs.

Nicholson said there was political interference in Zuma’s case, an allegation made by his supporters, who say Zuma was the victim of a political witch-hunt by his rival South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Zuma is virtually guaranteed the presidency in 2009 elections because of the ANC’s electoral dominance.

Foreign investors have been concerned that Zuma’s left-leaning union allies would pressure him to stray from pro-business policies if he becomes leader of Africa’s biggest economy. He has tried to reassure them that he was committed to economic growth.