Page last updated at 11:23 GMT, Monday, 6 April 2009 12:23 UK

Timeline: Zuma's legal problems

Jacob Zuma, the leader of South Africa's governing party, has had charges of corruption against him dropped.

He has been in and out of court over the last four years. The BBC News website tracks his legal battle:

ANC leader Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma is favourite to become president in April's elections

June 2005

Mr Zuma's close associate Schabir Shaik found guilty of fraud and corruption in connection with a $4.8bn arms deal.

Judge Hilary Squires said there was evidence of "a mutually beneficial symbiosis" and that payments by Shaik to Mr Zuma "can only have generated a sense of obligation in the recipient".

June 2005

Sacked by President Thabo Mbeki as South Africa's deputy president after an outcry over Shaik's conviction.

October 2005

Charged with corruption.

Weeks later the HIV-positive daughter of a family friend accuses him of rape.

December 2005

Charged with rape.

February 2006

Mr Zuma goes on trial for rape. He denied the charges.

April 2006

Acquitted of rape.

But criticised in the press for his remarks about sex:

  • that he knew she wanted to have sex with him because she was wearing a short traditional wrap-around
  • that it was against his Zulu culture to turn down a woman
  • and that he did not use a condom but took a shower to "protect" against HIV infection.

At the time, he was head of South Africa's Aids council.

May 2006

ANC votes to reinstate him in his party duties.

September 2006

His corruption trial is struck from the court list when the prosecution asks for yet another delay to gather evidence.

November 2007

The court of appeal opens the way for charges to be brought again when it rules that the seizure by police of incriminating documents from his home and office was legal.

December 2007

ANC elects him as party president ahead of Mr Mbeki in a bitter contest, making him favourite to become South Africa's next president after elections due in 2009.

Ten days later prosecutors bring new charges of corruption, racketeering and tax evasion

June 2008

Mr Zuma files papers to have his prosecution declared invalid and unconstitutional.

He reveals that if the application fails he would bring a second application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

12 September 2008

Judge Chris Nicholson declares that the prosecution was invalid and throws out the charges on a legal technicality, stressing this has no bearing on Mr Zuma's guilt or otherwise.

He says there was evidence of political interference - that Mr Mbeki had colluded with prosecutors against Mr Zuma as part of the "titanic power struggle" within the ANC.

Five days later, the National Prosecuting Authority says it will appeal, sparking fury within the ANC.

The ANC then forces Mr Mbeki to resign as president.

October 2008

Prosecutors are given leave to appeal against the dismissal of Mr Zuma's corruption trial.

November 2008

South Africa's ex-President Mbeki loses an attempt to quash a ruling saying he meddled in the prosecution of Mr Zuma.

January 2009

Appeals court overturns Judge Nicholson's ruling, opening the way for Mr Zuma's trial to be resumed, just months before general elections.

6 April 2009

South Africa's chief prosecutor, Mokotedi Mpshe, announces that charges against Mr Zuma are being dropped after phone-tap evidence showed there had been political interference in the investigation and it was "neither possible nor desirable" to prosecute Mr Zuma.

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