South Africa Ombudsman Opposes Zuma Bid to Overturn Graft Report

  • Public Protector collating evidence needed to counter lawsuit
  • Zuma stands accused of breaching government code of ethics

South Africa’s graft ombudsman said she will oppose a lawsuit filed by President Jacob Zuma aimed at overturning a report drafted by her predecessor that indicated he may have breached the government’s code of ethics in his dealings with members of the Gupta family.

”We will be opposing the judicial review application,” Busisiwe Mkhwebane told reporters in Pretoria, the capital, on Monday. “We are still finalizing the process of collating all the evidence which is needed.”

In her 355-page report released on Nov. 2 last year, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said Zuma and some of his ministers may have allowed the Guptas, who are in business with the president’s son, to influence the appointment of cabinet members and given them special treatment to enable them to buy a coal business. Zuma and the Guptas denied wrongdoing.

Madonsela said Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng should name a judge who would chair the commission that would investigate whether there had been any wrongdoing. Zuma said he wasn’t given enough opportunity to respond to the report prior to its publication, and that only he had the right to appoint judicial commissions.

— With assistance by Michael Cohen

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