South Africa’s ANC backs release of graft report into Zuma’s friends

South Africa's President and ANC president Jacob Zuma attends the party's three-day National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Pretoria, in this March 18, 2016 file photo. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/Files
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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s ruling party said on Friday it supported the release of findings of an anti-corruption investigation into claims of political interference by friends of President Jacob Zuma, despite a court bid by Zuma to block the report.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was expected to reveal the findings on Friday, her last day in office, and she called a news conference for later in the day after publishing a list of 23 cases on which she would report.

The list did not mention the Guptas, a wealthy Indian-born family at the centre of the investigation into whether top political decisions, including cabinet appointments, have been unduly influenced.

Zizi Kodwa, spokesman for Zuma’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), told eNCA television news the party was in favour of Madonsela releasing her findings, including information on the Guptas.

Both the family, which has wide-ranging business interests in South Africa, and the president have denied any wrongdoing.

The claims of undue influence have become known as “state capture”.

“From our point of view, we are looking forward to the report because the allegations of corporate state capture are very serious,” Kodwa told the broadcaster in an interview.

“…For us whether it is today, or any other day, we are looking forward to the release of the report.”

Kodwa said he was not surprised that Zuma had sought a court order to block the report, as that was his right.

Zuma applied for that order on Thursday on the grounds that he had not had the chance to question witnesses and review any evidence that implicated him. The case is due to be heard on Tuesday.

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(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Writing by James Macharia; editing by John Stonestreet)

 

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