South African Police Unit Will Investigate Zuma Criminal Charges

  • Main opposition DA opened a corruption case against Zuma
  • Ombudsman report implied Zuma let Gupta family influence state

A South African police unit will investigate corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma following a report by the nation’s graft ombudsman that implied that he may have allowed members of the Gupta family to influence cabinet appointments and the awarding of state contracts.

The unit known as the Hawks will investigate charges brought against Zuma by Mmusi Maimane, the leader of the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. Maimane also asked the police to probe the Gupta family and Zuma’s son, Duduzane, who is their business partner, as well as two cabinet ministers implicated in a report by the former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela. Zuma and the Guptas deny wrongdoing.

“We will be taking over the investigation,” Hangwani Mulaudzi, a spokesman for Hawks, said by phone on Tuesday. “We have to look at the allegations they are making and then see what the next step is. It’s still early at this stage.”

Madonsela’s 355-page report, which was released after Zuma abandoned a court bid to stop its release, implied that he and some ministers may have breached the government’s code of ethics in their relationship with the Gupta family, who are Zuma’s friends. Madonsela called for a judicial inquiry into the allegations.

“I received official confirmation from the Head of the Serious Commercial Crimes Unit at the Hawks, that the criminal charges I laid against Jacob Zuma last week will be investigated.,” Maimane said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday. “This means we are another step closer to seeing Jacob Zuma face the consequences of his corruption.”

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