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South Africa: Zuma influence- peddling inquiry opens as judge seeks more witnesses

South Africa

The judge leading an inquiry into claims of influence-peddling against former South African president Jacob Zuma on Monday, urged more witnesses to come forward, as public hearings began in a case that could last two years.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo will review allegations that the Gupta brothers, who headed one of the nation’s largest conglomerates , unduly influenced Zuma over political appointments and winning government contracts.

Protest greeted proceedings. Rudy Heneke is a representative of organization undoing tax abuse.

“It is important that we find out who’s the culprits and that the recommendations by the inquiry can be made and that we, in a year or two years’ time, can put this state capture behind us”, he said.

“It is important for the country to know what went on because the name of the former president now and then is mentioned in the state capture’‘, said protester, Ali Gule.

On Monday, it was unclear whether he or the Guptas , who all deny any wrongdoing will appear at the inquiry, which is mandated to make recommendations for prosecutions.

The exact whereabouts of the Guptas are not known. Reuters said the brothers, officials from their companies and their family representatives could not be reached for comment on Monday.

The inquiry stems from a 2016 report into alleged influence-peddling by the Public Protector South Africa’s main anti-graft authority. The allegations and other scandals surrounding Zuma’s nine-year rule forced him out of office in February.


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