clearn.png
Monday October 18th, 2021 12:50AM

South Africa's president fights own party over corruption

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa's anti-corruption drive is facing stiff resistance from political foes within his own party, including his predecessor, who is openly defying a ruling from the country's highest court to testify at an inquiry into state graft.

Ramaphosa is confronted by pushback on two fronts as former president Jacob Zuma refuses to appear at the long-running judicial inquiry despite a Constitutional Court ruling that he should.

Also, the ruling African National Congress' Secretary-General, Ace Magashule, has refused to step down from his powerful position pending his corruption trial. It's in defiance of Ramaphosa and ANC policy that officials facing corruption charges should step aside until their criminal cases are finalized.

Magashule appeared in court Friday, and his case will go to trial in August. He is one of 11 people, many of the others local government officials, charged with fraud and corruption relating to a $17 million government contract when Magashule was the premier of South Africa's Free State Province, a position he held from 2009-18.

"I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ll prove (it) in court," Magashule said outside the courthouse, where people wearing green and yellow ANC T-shirts gathered in support of him.

Both Zuma and Magashule have challenged Ramaphosa since he replaced Zuma as ANC leader in 2017 and became South Africa's president in 2018. With it, they have accentuated the deep divisions within the ANC, the party Nelson Mandela once led and which was at the forefront of the fight against the apartheid regime.

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.

That scandal further angered South Africans who have been inundated with allegations of high-level corruption during the state corruption commission, which is probing Zuma's time as president from 2009-18.

As well as refusing to testify, Zuma claimed commission chairman Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the second most senior judge in the country, is biased and should not oversee the inquiry.

Zuma could be found guilty of contempt and jailed for his refusal to testify. He also faces corruption charges related to allegations he received bribes when the county purchased weapons in 1999. He is to appear in court on those charges next week.

Inflaming the situation further, Zuma this week accused Ramaphosa of bribing his way to the ANC presidency in 2017.

Attempting to find a resolution, Police Minister and top ANC official Bheki Cele met with Zuma. He is expected to report back to ANC leaders on his discussion with the former president.

However, political analyst Prof. Dirk Kotze of the University of South Africa said the meetings with Zuma were unlikely to produce a solution.

“What is happening is that Zuma wants a political solution while the rest, including Judge Zondo, are going for a legal approach, and you cannot mix the two," said Kotze.

“They will not be willing to make any concessions so the meeting will not resolve the matter. It is a difficult position for Zuma because he has no institutional power behind him now, he is no longer a decision-maker in the party,” said Kotze.

Another political analyst, William Gumede of the Democracy Works think tank, agreed that a showdown was inevitable.

"The case is clear. Zuma contravenes the constitutional court," Gumede said. “There’s no maneuvering space.”

___

AP journalist Gerald Imray in Cape Town contributed.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
VIRUS DIARY: It's mud, mud everywhere in UK's 3rd lockdown
Britain has endured almost 120,000 coronavirus deaths and residents face both a more contagious virus variant and a lockdown with no end yet in sight
9:21AM ( 5 minutes ago )
South Africa's president fights own party over corruption
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa's anti-corruption drive is facing stiff resistance from political foes within his own party
9:19AM ( 6 minutes ago )
The Latest: Norway easing some coronavirus restrictions
Norway is easing some coronavirus restrictions
9:19AM ( 7 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Dutch government in 2-pronged bid to save coronavirus curfew
The Dutch government has opened a two-pronged bid to save its coronavirus curfew
6:56AM ( 2 hours ago )
Biden repudiates Trump on Iran, ready for talks on nuke deal
The Biden administration says it's ready to join talks with Iran and world powers about a return to the 2015 nuclear deal
6:43AM ( 2 hours ago )
Australian leader urges Facebook to lift its news blockade
Australia’s prime minister has urged Facebook to lift its ban on news access for Australian users and return to the negotiating table with news publishing businesses
6:03AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Republican infighting rattles bid to oust Democrat Newsom
Infighting among California Republicans could endanger the party's hopes of ousting Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom
12:07AM ( 9 hours ago )
Texas crisis has governor facing big backer: energy industry
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants mandates that would require power plants to withstand extreme winter weather
9:49PM ( 11 hours ago )
Democrats consider piecemeal approach to immigration reform
Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration have unveiled a broad immigration bill that would provide an eight-year pathway to citizenship for 11 million people living in the country without legal status
9:37PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
UK top court gives Uber drivers benefits in landmark ruling
The U.K. Supreme Court has ruled that Uber drivers should be classed as “workers” and not self-employed
7:55AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Serbia gives more than a million vaccine doses
Serbia has administered more than a million doses of coronavirus vaccines
7:42AM ( 1 hour ago )
UK vows to share vaccines, but details thin as G-7 meets
Leaders of the Group of Seven economic powers are holding their first meeting of 2021, and getting coronavirus vaccines to people around the world is top of the agenda
7:22AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP World News
'Mom, can I buy stocks?' GameStop provides teachable moment
The recent GameStop frenzy provided what parents and educators call a teachable moment _ an opportunity that presents itself to lend a little insight
7:07AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: European Union to double COVAX contribution
The European Union’s executive commission plans to double its contribution to the World Health Organization’s COVAX program
6:41AM ( 2 hours ago )
Honda taps tech expert as chief to steer in ecological times
Toshihiro Mibe, a research expert, has been tapped to be president of Japanese automaker Honda
6:12AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
EXPLAINER: What's up between Google, Facebook and Australia?
For two decades, global news outlets have complained internet companies are getting rich at their expense, selling advertising linked to their reports without sharing revenue
8:25PM ( 13 hours ago )
Ford loses track of dangerous air bags, forcing 2 recalls
Ford has lost track of some older Takata air bags that can explode and hurl shrapnel, so it’s recalling more than 154,000 vehicles in North America
7:11PM ( 14 hours ago )
The Latest: Georgia to open 4 COVID-19 vaccination sites
Georgia is opening up four mass vaccination sites to inoculate people against COVID-19, with locations chosen to try to increase the lagging share of Black and Latino residents who are getting the shots
6:14PM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
VIRUS DIARY: It's mud, mud everywhere in UK's 3rd lockdown
Britain has endured almost 120,000 coronavirus deaths and residents face both a more contagious virus variant and a lockdown with no end yet in sight
9:21AM ( 5 minutes ago )
The Latest: Norway easing some coronavirus restrictions
Norway is easing some coronavirus restrictions
9:19AM ( 7 minutes ago )
Germany sees drop in virus cases flatten as variant surges
The head of Germany’s disease control agency is warning that the decline in new coronavirus infections the country had been seeing has leveled off and the share of cases involving more contagious variants is rising
9:13AM ( 12 minutes ago )
It's final: Harry and Meghan won't return as working royals
Buckingham Palace has confirmed that Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, will not be returning to royal duties, and Harry will give up his honorary military titles
8:52AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Massive breach fuels calls for US action on cybersecurity
U.S. officials are scrambling to reinforce the nation’s cyber defenses following a sweeping hack that may have exposed government and corporate secrets to Russia
8:52AM ( 34 minutes ago )