State’s Decisions Influenced by Private Interest Under ex-President Zuma – Inquiry

A South African corruption inquiry said it had established that state decision-making was influenced by private interests during former President Jacob Zuma’s tenure.

The first part of the report — released by the Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo-chaired Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of State on Tuesday — showed evidence of how Zuma and his associates including the Gupta family of businessmen allegedly influenced the awarding of lucrative state contracts.

Acting Chief Justice Zondo was appointed to lead the inquiry into allegations of high-level graft during Zuma’s tenure in power from 2009 to 2018.

There have been allegations of widespread corruption overshadowing South Africa’s politics for years.

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According to the report, the government was advised to publish a national charter against corruption in public procurement, to establish an independent anti-corruption agency, to give whistleblowers protection, and to amend laws regarding political party funding.

Zuma is accused of allowing businessmen close to him — brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta — to plunder state resources and influence policy, which is known in South Africa as “state capture”.

In July, Zuma was imprisoned for contempt of court after refusing to cooperate with the investigation. In September, he was placed on medical parole, then ordered back into jail by the high court — a decision he is appealing.

Despite their denials of wrongdoing, the Guptas left South Africa after Zuma was ousted before the end of his second term by Cyril Ramaphosa’s allies on the executive of the ruling African National Congress party, to which they belong.

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The first part of the Zondo commission’s report examined alleged graft related to the state airline South African Airways and related entities, a media company controlled by the Guptas, the revenue service, and public procurement in general.

Ramaphosa is due to receive two more parts of the report by the end of February.

“A reading of Part I of the Report will show the reader that this Commission has concluded that state capture has been established. This will also be shown in Part II and Part III,” the part of the report published on Tuesday said.

Ramaphosa said he will implement the inquiry’s recommendations by the end of June after Zondo handed him the first part of the report at a ceremony at the Union Buildings.

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