Salem Radio Network News Friday, January 21, 2022

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South African inquiry finds “state capture” during Zuma era

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – 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 its report released on Tuesday showed.

The inquiry chaired by Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was established to examine allegations of high-level graft during Zuma’s nine years in power from 2009 to 2018.

Allegations of widespread corruption that have overshadowed South Africa’s politics for years.

Among other suggestions, the inquiry recommended that the government publish a national charter against corruption in public procurement, establish an independent anti-corruption agency, ensure protection for whistleblowers and that legislation on political party funding be amended.

The allegations levelled against Zuma include that he allowed businessmen close to him — brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta — to plunder state resources and influence policy, in what is widely referred to in South Africa as “state capture”.

Zuma denies wrongdoing and has refused to cooperate with the inquiry, leading to his imprisonment in July for contempt of court. He was placed on medical parole in September before being ordered back to jail by the high court — a decision he is appealing against.

The Guptas, who also deny wrongdoing, left South Africa after Zuma was ousted before the end of his second term by now-President Cyril Ramaphosa’s allies on the executive of the ruling African National Congress party to which they both belong.

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

Two further parts of the report are due to be submitted to Ramaphosa 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 promised a plan to 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, the seat of government.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Alison Williams)

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