Zuma denies opposition to corruption inquiry

Jacob Zuma

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma said on Friday he was not opposed to setting up a commission of inquiry into corruption in his government after anti-graft report alleged he was influenced by the wealthy Gupta family in making government appointments.

The former Public Protector, a constitutionally mandated corruption watchdog, called for a commission of inquiry in the “State of Capture” report into alleged influence-peddling.

The report was released in November.

Zuma has challenged the report in court, arguing that the Public Protector had no right to ask him to form such a commission, as this was the president’s prerogative.

In a statement from his office on Friday, Zuma said he was not opposed to such an inquiry, but did not say when such a commission could be established.

In November 2016, former public protector Thuli Madonsela released her State of Capture report.

In it, she detailed the relationship between the president and the controversial Gupta family.

She details the extent of their influence over Zuma, and recommends the president set up a judicial inquiry to investigate allegations of improper conduct and undue influence wielded by the family over him.

The family has been accused of influencing the president to appoint certain Cabinet ministers and senior officials to head the country’s state-owned companies.

The State Capacity Research Project includes academics and researchers from four universities.

The report contained allegations from current and former government employees, exposing expose how certain individuals close to Zuma have gained control of some state-owned entities.

The report delves into the dark recesses of state capture in South Africa and suggests the country might soon be a mafia state.