South Africa’s opposition files complaint against Zuma over corruption

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma makes opening remarks during the official opening of the U.N.'s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Sandton in Johannesburg, South Africa, September 24, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s main opposition party filed a criminal complaint on Tuesday accusing President Jacob Zuma of corruption, after an anti-graft agency released a report listing allegations of influence peddling in his government.

The report, titled “State of Capture”, stopped short of reaching conclusive findings against the president, some of his ministers and heads of state-owned companies. But it plunged Zuma into the latest crisis of his scandal-plagued presidency.

“The DA will make sure Jacob Zuma, and all those who aid and abet him, are held accountable for their flagrant abuse of power to make themselves rich – at the expense of the poor and the jobless,” said Mmusi Maimane, the leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) party. He urged police to investigate.

The affair has rattled markets in Africa’s most industrialised economy, which faces possible ratings downgrades later this year, and given even more ammunition to the opposition to try to unseat Zuma.

Zuma — who survived a no-confidence vote in parliament on Thursday over the allegations of influence-peddling — was studying the report and reserved the right to challenge it in court, the president’s office said in a statement after the document was released on Nov. 2.

The carefully worded report by Thuli Madonsela, who reached the end of her tenure as Public Protector on Oct. 14, stopped short of asserting that crimes had been committed and called for a judge to investigate the allegations.

It focused on allegations that the brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta influenced the appointment of ministers, and called for an investigation into whether Zuma, some of his cabinet members and some state companies acted improperly.

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Zuma, 74, denies providing special favours for wealthy friends, including the Guptas, who run a business empire from media to mining. They also deny wrongdoing.

The chief executive of the state power utility, Brian Molefe, announced his resignation, a week after he was implicated in the anti-graft report. Molefe denied any wrongdoing but said he was leaving his post in the company’s interest.

(Reporting by James Macharia, editing by Larry King)


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