Jacob Zuma relents on inquiry into South African state capture


Cape Town - Former public protector Thuli Madonsela has advised her successor, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, that an extension of the Zondo Commission's brief will amount to "scope creep".

"There is nothing under the sun stopping President Zuma or any President from initiating 20 judicial inquiries into state capture by white monopoly capital".

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - South Africa's president said Tuesday he is appointing a commission of inquiry to look into corruption allegations that have led to calls for his ouster and weakened the ruling party, declaring "this matter can not wait any longer".

"Pursuant to the investigation and remedial action of the Public Protector regarding complaints and allegations of the State of Capture, as well as the orders issued by the North Gauteng High Court in its judgment of 14 December 2017, I have made a decision to appoint a Commission of Inquiry", Zuma said in a statement.

On Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma announced that the probe would go ahead, led by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

South Africa gained independence in 1994.

The Pretoria court also ordered that Zuma, whose presidency is approaching the end of its two-term limit, personally pays the costs of the review, which the President has appealed.

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In his goodbye speech as ANC leader last month, the 75-year-old Zuma acknowledged "failures" that have threatened the party's future and said greed was posing a serious threat.

"I am concerned that this matter has occupied the public mind for some time now and deserves urgent attention", Zuma said. The report delved into the Zuma administration's dealings with the Gupta family. "There should be no area of corruption and culprit (sic) that should be spared the extent of this commission of inquiry", he said.

Maimane added: "The court unanimously found that Zuma's conduct in trying to block the release of the State of Capture report was an "abuse of judicial process" and an attempt to "stymie the fulfilment of a constitutional obligation by the Office of the Public Protector".

Zuma had, until now, been reluctant to appoint the commission on the basis that he wanted the courts to clarity certain aspects of Madonsela's ruling he was not happy with.

Owing to the lack of resources and the inadequacy of the allocated funds, the State of Capture investigation had focused on 12 issues only, she said.

"It is my honest hope that the commission will able to reach many of those areas of concern that may have been reached".

"The commission is a step towards ridding the country of corruption, and must do its work without delay", DA leader Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.