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Corruption in South Africa: the Zuma era scrutinized in a damning report

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Published on: 06/23/2022 – 03:20 The final presentation of the report on the corruption scandal in South Africa took place on Wednesday. Former President Jacob Zuma is described there as “the puppet” of a sulphurous trio of businessmen who have siphoned off the state coffers. The case must now go to court. It took more than 5,000 pages to account for the extent of the machination mounted by the ex-president and a sulphurous sibling of businessmen: the conclusions of four years of investigation into state corruption in South Africa under the Zuma era were finally published on Wednesday June 22. After 400 days of hearings, more than 300 witnesses and the examination of hundreds of incriminating documents which resulted in the questioning of nearly 1,500 people by an ad hoc commission, chaired by Judge Raymond Zondo, the findings are overwhelming.”The ‘state capture’ was a real attack on our democracy, it violated the rights of every man and woman in this country “, said President Cyril Ramaphosa during the official delivery of the report in Pretoria, employing the term used in the country to refer to the years of rampant corruption. He had estimated the amounts embezzled at the equivalent of more than 30 billion euros. -President Jacob Zuma, described as “the puppet” of the sulphurous trio of businessmen of Indian origin, the Guptas, siphoned off the coffers of the State. The affair which has kept South Africans in suspense for several years with river hearings broadcast live on television, must now move on to the judicial stage. The commission has an advisory role but its conclusions can be forwarded to the public prosecutor’s office. Cyril Ramaphosa, who has vowed to eradicate corruption as successor to Jacob Zuma, will announce possible prosecutions in Parliament in four months. Judge Zondo has already recommended prosecutions against more than 130 people, including several former ministers. “It has been a long road (…) There was a time when I was not sure that this day would come,” he confessed when the report was delivered, referring to sleepless nights. Shake Jacob Zuma, 80 years, is now on medical parole, sentenced to 15 months in prison for having stubbornly refused to testify before the commission of inquiry. His imprisonment in July sparked an unprecedented wave of riots that killed more than 350 people. The final presentation of the report comes weeks after the arrest of two of the Gupta brothers, at the heart of the scandal. Atul and Rajesh Gupta, targeted by an international arrest warrant from Interpol, were arrested in early June in Dubai. police deemed corrupt. An extradition request is in progress. The wealthy family is accused of having infiltrated the top of the state thanks to their long friendship with Jacob Zuma: influence on the choice of ministers, pressure to pocket public contracts, looting of companies utilities (electricity, transport, aviation), before fleeing. Cyril Ramaphosa in turmoilManaging to present the two arrested suspects to South African justice would be a feat for Cyril Ramaphosa. The report, however, suggests that the latter was himself passive as Jacob Zuma’s vice president. significant shortcomings,” according to the report. Could he have acted against this corruption? “The wealth of evidence available to this commission suggests that the answer is yes,” the report said. “Surely there was enough credible information in the public domain (…) to prompt him to at least investigate and perhaps act on a number of serious allegations.” And “as vice-president, he certainly had the responsibility to do so,” the report also suggests. of a complaint filed in early June. Former South African intelligence chief Arthur Fraser accuses him of concealing from the police and the tax authorities a 2020 burglary at one of his properties, during which large sums of cash, concealed in furniture, according to him were stolen. At the head of a personal fortune, Cyril Ramaphosa, heckled during a recent appearance in Parliament, admitted that a sum had been stolen from him, while explaining that the money was made from the sale of animals from his farm north of Johannesburg. The opposition demands that he withdraw to leave room for an investigation. With AFP

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