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World South Africa's anti-graft commission at a glance

09:40  11 may  2021
09:40  11 may  2021 Source:   afp.com

South Africa's ANC set for tug of war over graft strategy

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A judicial commission investigating graft in South Africa has asked to extend its work until the end of the year. The commission ’ s inquiry has been running since August 2018. Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela ordered the probe into allegations that the Gupta family and others may have influenced cabinet appointments and government business. A lot of the alleged wrongdoing, know locally as state capture, happened during the almost nine-year tenure of former President Jacob Zuma.

South Africa ’ s embattled former president Jacob Zuma on Wednesday hit out at the judicial commission probing state corruption during his nine-year tenure, labelling the graft panel head prejudiced against him. The statement issued by the Jacob Zuma foundation came days after the He then withdrew from giving testimony complaining that he had been “treated as someone who was accused” but later agreed to testify at a future date. Zuma was forced to resign in February 2018 over graft scandals centred around an Indian migrant business family, the Guptas, who won lucrative

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa this week will make his second appearance before a panel investigating the alleged looting of state coffers under his scandal-tainted predecessor Jacob Zuma.

a man wearing a suit and tie: President Cyril Ramaphosa dons a face mask at his appearance before the Zondo Commission in April © Themba Hadebe President Cyril Ramaphosa dons a face mask at his appearance before the Zondo Commission in April

The commission, tasked with uncovering the full extent of official corruption, will make recommendations to prosecutors when it wraps up 34 months of hearings at the end of June.

Here is key background to the panel and its work:

- The genesis -

Zuma appointed a fact-finding panel after a 2016 report by South Africa's anti-graft watchdog identified him as a kingpin of patronage and malfeasance.

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South Africa ' s Public Protector, a constitutionally-mandated anti - graft watchdog, confirmed on Wednesday that an investigation into possible undue political influence by wealthy friends of President Jacob Zuma was final. Zuma filed an affidavit to court on Tuesday seeking clarification over whether he would be able to question witnesses himself before the public protector finalised its report. "The Public Protector has the President’s latest affidavit and has through the attorneys confirmed that the report was finalised and signed on 14 October 2016," the public protector's spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi said.

About 8% of South Africa ’ s 59 million people are white, and many can trace our roots there back to the 17th century. I worry radical black politicians’ wish to see us expunged, expelled or killed is xenophobic reverse apartheid. One has only to glance at the lists of white anti -apartheid activists to see how deeply racist – and ungrateful – it is to say whites are not black enough for Africa . In 1992, white South Africans voted in good faith to dismantle apartheid and move towards equal citizenship.

He said the commission would prove his innocence and erase public doubt over the government's commitment to eradicating "all forms of corruption".

Setting up the judicial commission in January 2018, Zuma asked it to investigate allegations of fraud known as "state capture" by special interests, appointing deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo as its chair.

One month later, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party forced Zuma to step down as allegations piled up and his popularity plummeted.

Ramaphosa came to power vowing to fight corruption, and the panel that Zuma commissioned launched hearings in August 2018.

- Revelations -

More than 270 witnesses, including politicians, business people, civil servants and anonymous state security agents, have testified.

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South Africa ’ s embattled former president Jacob Zuma failed to appear on Monday before a judicial panel probing corruption during his nine-year tenure, again defying a court order for him to testify. In a letter penned by Zuma’s legal representatives, Mabuza attorneys, his lawyers said their client “would not be appearing before the commission on 15-19 February”. ALSO READ: Zuma vows never to appear before South Africa ’ s anti - graft panel. Adding that appearing before deputy chief Justice Zondo would “undermine and invalidate the review application over his decision not to recuse himself”.

SUBSCRIBER ONLY. Business. South Africa Anti - Graft Advocate Warns on Her Removal. By. Amogelang Mbatha. The courts have overturned several of Mkhwebane’ s previous rulings and rebuked her for failing to stick to her constitutional mandate. Other critics have accused Mkhwebane, who served in the state security agency under former president Jacob Zuma, of playing politics and siding against incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa in a power struggle within the ruling party.

Many referred to a wealthy Indian immigrant family headed by three brothers -- Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta -- who are accused of having wielded undue influence over Zuma.

The brothers are at the centre of the 2016 graft report, which claims they paid bribes to influence ministerial appointments and plunder state organs. They fled South Africa shortly after the commission started, and their whereabouts are unknown.

One witness described bags bulging with cash, sometimes totalling as much as six million rand ($427 million) in a month, being delivered to ANC bigwigs during secret meetings in upmarket hotels, in exchange for the awarding of lucrative contracts to one private company.

Several witnesses detailed an audit for a major asbestos roof removal project in central Free State province. The project was never completed, yet $10 million went missing. This led to the indictment and suspension of ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, the provincial governor at the time.

South Africa's ANC suspends Secretary General Magashule - local media

  South Africa's ANC suspends Secretary General Magashule - local media South Africa's ANC suspends Secretary General Magashule - local mediaMagashule faces corruption charges over a contract to audit homes with asbestos roofs when he was premier of the Free State province. He denies the charges against him.

South African President Jacob Zuma has asked a court to stop the release of results of an anti -corruption investigation over allegations of political interference by his wealthy friends, his spokeswoman said on Thursday. Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was due on Friday to release her preliminary findings in a On Monday evening, Boris Johnson will speak to Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, for the second time in 48 hours to decide whether to allow negotiations to continue into Tuesday or – if there is no prospect of agreement – to walk away for good.

South Africa ' s anti -corruption watchdog said on Thursday that it was investigating Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, a close ally of President Cyril Ramaphosa, for allegedly abusing his powers during his time as finance minister. The watchdog said it was looking into allegations that Gordhan But Harry must be realistic about what his current position in the royal framework should allow – and a glance back at history might have served him well. When Edward VIII abdicated and became Duke of Windsor, he was never given security by the British Government – arguably at a time when he might

Some witnesses and whistleblowers, including some who remained anonymous, have reported receiving death threats since they testified.

- The Zuma quagmire -

Zuma first appeared before the commission in July 2019, denying any wrongdoing. He withdrew two days later, complaining of being "treated as someone who was accused". The former president has since ducked all calls to testify.

Exasperated, Zondo petitioned the Constitutional Court, which ordered Zuma to testify in January. But he refused, saying he would "rather face jail" and that "no amount of intimidation or blackmail" would change his mind.

The commission has since asked the top court to jail Zuma for two years for contempt of court.

To date, the anti-graft panel has cost South African taxpayers over 800 million rand ($57 million).

Ramaphosa, who was Zuma's deputy president, first testified as head of the ANC in April. He alleged that "rot" and graft had riddled the party under Zuma.

The president will testify again on Thursday and Friday in his capacity as head of state.

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South Africa's president suspends party secretary-general .
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) — South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has intensified the country’s anti-corruption drive with the suspension of his African National Congress party’s secretary-general, who is facing corruption charges in court. The decision made this week to suspend Ace Magashule and implement a policy that forces leaders charged with corruption to resign is largely seen as a victory for Ramaphosa against his political rivals. These include Magashule and a political faction within the party which is sympathetic towards former president Jacob Zuma.

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This is interesting!