S.Africa inquiry opens into alleged graft under Zuma

Gladys Abbott
August 23, 2018

The State capture inquiry chair has reiterated the call for anyone with information state capture wrongdoing to come forward.

High ranking officials are expected to be summoned throughout the inquiry to explain the government's connection with the Guptas - a wealthy family of Indian origin - and their alleged influence within South African politics.

It looked into whether the Gupta family influenced President Zuma's choice of cabinet ministers.

"The ANC urges its members and others who are summoned to appear before the Commission to offer their full cooperation to the Commission, so that the country can deal with this hard chapter", the party said.

With Zuma expected to appear at the commission, his alleged dodgy dealings with the controversial Gupta family and their undue influence over acquiring government tenders through their Gupta-linked companies will be in the spotlight.

Due to this scandal Zuma had to resigned in February after he faced substantial uproar from his own ruling African National Congress (ANC) politicians over corruption charges.

The first witnesses to appear before the commission include a former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, an ANC lawmaker Mabel Mentor and the former government spokesman Themba Maseko.

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The Sunday Times reported that the commission, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, had been in touch with Zuma, but it still remains unclear if he will testify.

The 76-year-old former head of state still commands considerable support within his party, the ANC. However, lawyers representing Zuma have already asked for more time to gather witness statements.

The public protector also investigated claims that the Guptas had bribed state officials to win contracts at the state-owned electricity company, Eskom.

It will examine claims of fraud in the public sector during former President Jacob Zuma's time in office.

Although the inquiry does not have powers to arrest or prosecute, it can refer matters for possible criminal investigation.

Jonas has alleged he was taken by Zuma to the Guptas' home in Johannesburg where Ajay Gupta said he would be appointed finance minister and paid 600 million rand for acting favourably toward the family's interests.

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