Zuma quizzed over rich friends’ links to power

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African President Jacob Zuma faced questions on Thursday over allegations his wealthy business friends influenced political appointments, in the final investigation by an anti-graft chief who has been a thorn in his side.


Public Protector Thuli Madonsela won popular acclaim when her investigation into $16 million of improper state spending on Zuma’s private home was upheld in the constitutional court and the president was forced to repay some of the funds.

As part of her final inquiry, Madonsela will quiz Zuma behind closed doors later on Thursday afternoon over accusations the Gupta family played a role in selecting cabinet members and used their relationship with the president to gain favour in terms of government tenders, payments and licenses.

The Guptas deny any wrongdoing and say they have been victims of a “sustained political attack”.

“If the report finds serious wrongdoing by the president, it will be extremely damaging and will embolden his opponents inside and outside the ruling party,” said Prince Mashele, analyst at the Centre for Politics and Research.

“Madonsela knows this is her final farewell and I don’t expect her to be mild. She’ll hit this one hard.”

Madonsela will release her findings by Oct. 14, the day before her seven-year term comes to an end. Zuma approved parliament’s choice of Busisiwe Mkhwebane as the next public protector earlier on Thursday.


The three Gupta brothers moved to South Africa from India at the end of apartheid in the early 1990s and went on to build a business empire that stretches from technology to the media to mining.

They became household names in South Africa after Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said in March they had offered to secure him his boss’s job.

Zuma’s son, Duduzane, quit as a director of a firm owned by the Guptas in April because of “aspersions” about his family and after large South African banks cut ties with the Guptas.

Opposition parties have called for Zuma’s resignation over his links with the Guptas and top members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) have condemned what they call “state capture” by private interests, without naming the president.

But analysts say there is little appetite in the ANC to remove a second party president in a row, following the recall of Thabo Mbeki in 2008, given the boost such internal instability would give opponents.

Zuma is expected to stand down as ANC leader late next year at party conference before his second and final term as South African president finishes in 2019.

“The public protector’s report could be very damaging for Zuma, but a slow, incremental decline is more likely than an unceremonious exit,” said political analyst Daniel Silke.

“The top echelons of the ANC will likely wait for a natural retirement as the forces aligned to Zuma begin to switch loyalties to his successor and the ANC divides widen.”

Incoming public protector, Mkhwebane, a lawyer who recently held a position at the State Security Agency, was nominated by 60 percent of lawmakers in a vote last month.


Related Posts
Turncoat Banda upsets Zambian politics
LUSAKA - Zambia's ex-president Rupiah Banda has joined the opposition Patriotic Front party after failing to win his party's backing. Judging by the local and social media in Zambia, one would ...
King Mswati’s jet held in Canada over debt
Mbabane -Swaziland’s King Mswati III’s personal jet has been impounded in Canada by order of a Canadian court for settlement of R35 million, part of the R1.6bn a businessman claims ...
Tanzania's former Prime Minister and main opposition party CHADEMA presidential candidate Edward Lowassa addresses his final campaign rally in Jangwani playing fields on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, October 24, 2015.   REUTERS/Sadi Said
DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Tanzania's opposition presidential candidate Edward Lowassa on Wednesday called for a recount of Sunday's poll, citing voting irregularities in the East African nation's tightest elections ...
Paramedics help casualties outside Turkey's largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk, Turkey, following a blast, June 28, 2016.     REUTERS/Ismail Coskun/IHLAS News Agency.
ISTANBUL - Three suicide bombers opened fire then blew themselves up in Istanbul's main international airport on Tuesday, killing 36 people and wounding close to 150 in what Turkey's prime ...
Zuma apologises to nation over Nkandla‚ but dodges blame
SOUTH Africans expecting a resignation from the president on Friday night did not get one but he will pay back the money. Addressing the nation on Friday night, President Jacob Zuma ...
Clinton has one eye on Trump after huge win in South Carolina
Fresh off a runaway win in the South Carolina primary, Democrat Hillary Clinton turned her sights to a possible match-up with Republican front-runner Donald Trump in the Nov. 8 presidential ...
Outgoing US Secretary for the Treasury, Jack Lew
Outgoing United States Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew has warned against the overuse of sanctions saying Washington runs the risk of lessening their impact. The Secretary of the Treasury is ...
South Africa asks appeal court to convict Pistorius of murder
BLOEMFONTEIN - South African paralympian Oscar Pistorius, freed on parole last month after serving a fifth of his prison term for killing his girlfriend, faces years more in jail if ...
Watch: Face-to-face with Edward Snowden in Moscow on Trump, Putin and dwindling hopes of a presidential pardon
In an exclusive interview in Russia with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric, Edward Snowden, the fugitive whistleblower who leaked information about U.S. surveillance activities, says he is “kind of ...
Buhari asks head of biggest private equity firm to join cabinet
ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the head of the country's biggest private equity firm to join his cabinet, Senate President Bukola Saraki said on Tuesday, as ...
Turncoat Banda upsets Zambian politics
King Mswati’s jet held in Canada over debt
Tanzania opposition calls for vote recount, Zanzibar poll
Suspected Islamic State suicide bombers kill 36 at
Zuma apologises to nation over Nkandla‚ but dodges
Clinton has one eye on Trump after huge
Outgoing US Treasury Secretary warns against overuse of
South Africa asks appeal court to convict Pistorius
Watch: Face-to-face with Edward Snowden in Moscow on
Buhari asks head of biggest private equity firm

Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment

TLC to release first album without late Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes

28th February 2017 Staff Reporter 0

Fans of TLC will rejoice to hear that the r’n’b ’90s much-loved girl group are due to unveil their long-awaited final album this summer. The manager of surviving members Rozonda ‘Chilli’ Thomas and Tionne ‘T-Boz’ […]