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South Africa: President Ramaphosa to face anti-corruption commission

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PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP or licensors

South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will in April testify before a judicial commission investigating allegations of looting and corruption when his predecessor Jacob Zuma was in power, the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture (Zondo Commission) said on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa is summoned for four days, April 22, 23 and 28, 29, said the chairman of the commission, Judge Raymond Zondo, during a hearing broadcast on television.

Ramaphosa will testify in his capacity as leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), as well as president and former vice-president of the country (2014-2018).

The commission is probing allegations of looting and corruption which resulted in billions being stolen during Zuma's time in office.

A number of senior officials including Zuma, his former cabinet members and CEOs of state-owned entities have been implicated.

The commission is also taking legal actions against Zuma after he refused to appear before the commission and respond to the allegations. The case is being heard on Thursday.

Rooting out corruption

Ramaphosa's pledge to root out corruption helped to propel him to power in Africa's most developed economy, which was in recession even before the disastrous effects of the coronavirus pandemic. But he has found it difficult to take effective action against widespread graft, which also infiltrated the country's attempts to fight COVID-19.

A report this month by the state's Special Investigative Unit found that more than $800 million might have been lost to improper or corrupt government contracts for protective equipment for health workers and others as South Africa grappled with surging cases in the first few months of the pandemic.

Last month, the commission demanded two years in prison against Zuma for refusing to testify, before the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country. His case will also be heard on Thursday.

The former president was forced to resign in 2018 after pressure from his own ANC party.

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