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Zuma gets back to work

The South African politician assumed his duties as Dy Prez of ruling ANC, a week after he was acquitted of rape charges.

india Updated: May 15, 2006 12:47 IST

Popular South African politician Jacob Zuma has been handed back his duties of deputy president of the ruling African National Congress a week after he was acquitted of rape charges, a newspaper reported.

The Daily Star newspaper reported on Monday that the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) decided to reinstate Zuma to his party role at a Sunday night meeting. It said the case had sharply divided the ANC.

"ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma will resume his duties for the party with immediate effect," the Star said. It gave no source for its report and the ANC said it would issue a statement on the subject later on Monday.

Many of Zuma's rank-and-file ANC supporters have denounced the rape charges as a smear campaign to prevent him from succeeding President Thabo Mbeki in 2009.

Zuma said last week he was willing to seek election as South Africa's next president.

Mbeki sacked Zuma as his deputy last June amid a corruption scandal involving Zuma's former financial adviser.

But Zuma kept his post of deputy president of the ANC, although he voluntarily withdrew from acting in that role until the rape case was over.

A Johannesburg High Court judge last Monday acquitted Zuma of charges of raping an HIV positive 31-year-old family friend at his Johannesburg home last November.

Zuma declared immediately that he was resuming his normal functions in the ANC, but the party said its NEC would make that decision at Sunday's meeting.