Zuma spearheaded widespread corruption, says South African ‘capture state’ investigation

Jacob Zuma, the former president of South Africa, has chaired a “hardly likely picture of rampant corruption” in the country’s most critical state-owned companies, according to the first conclusions of a multi-year investigation into corruption under his rule.

A first report to President Cyril Ramaphosi on Tuesday called for the prosecution of former high-ranking officials and punished international rot helpers for detailing a national airline robbery, undermining the tax service and other corruption cases under Zuma, who left power in 2018.

The investigation, led by South Africa’s deputy chief justice, is reported for the first time since it was set up four years ago to investigate allegations that Guptasi, a business family and other private interests, looted public resources with Zuma’s help. “Influence [the Guptas] the pressure on former President Zuma has been significant, ”the first of three reports concluded.

Zuma was in jail last year because he defied the call from the investigation, which provoked South Africa the worst violence since apartheid. He is now fighting to return to prison after his early release on probation was declared illegal.

Zuma “escaped” the investigation rather than answering difficult questions about why he kept Dudu Myeni, a close ally, in the position of president of South African Airways while bringing the once-respected airline “into disrepair,” the report said. “He did not want to account to the nation,” he added.

Bain & Co., a global consulting firm, also helped Zuma undermine and weaken the tax service as part of the “takeover” of the state. His public contracts in South Africa should be revised, the report said.

Ramaphosa on Tuesday hailed the first investigation report as a “defining moment” for South Africans fight against corruption. But its content will be very embarrassing for the ruling African National Congress and is being published because faith weakens in Ramaphosin’s ability to reverse impunity and rot in the state.

The report recommends that several former SAA officials, including Myenia, be investigated for possible fraud. It also called for Tony Gupta, one of the family brothers, to be questioned over an alleged bribe regarding the receipt of state funds by a newspaper owned by Gupta.

Myeni denied committing a foul. The Guptas, who left South Africa when Zuma lost power, have always denied committing injustices.

South Africa has a poor record of prosecuting political corruption, a reality the report laments, and national prosecutors have yet to conclude a major case involving the state-occupied era. Ramaphosa announced that he would respond to the recommendations of the investigation in the middle of the year.

When a civil servant resisted Gupta’s media empire invading the state, “President Zuma was ready to throw his own friend into the ANC. . . “on the street only because he refused to participate in the corrupt arrangement demanded by Gupti,” the report said.

The report adds that the rot in the tax service is also “a clear example of how the private sector has been in collusion with the executive, including President Zuma, to take over an institution that was highly regarded internationally and made ineffective.”

Bain, who signed a consulting contract with the tax authority, met Zuma “before they were even appointed. . . In reality, there was no need for consultants, let alone a radical overhaul of the then world-class institution. ” Instead, the body was “deliberately captured,” it said.

The investigation states that Bain’s work with the South African state should be reviewed and that the prosecution should be considered when awarding its contracts. One key whistleblower “rejected numerous attempts by Bain & Co to give him large sums of money in exchange for his silence,” it added.

Bain did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In 2018 refunded fees and interest earned on tax work.

Even at the stage of its first report, the investigation called for a revision of South African public procurement rules and the establishment of a special and independent anti-corruption agency.

“South Africa needs a body to fight corruption without political oversight and capable of fighting corruption with fresh and concentrated energy,” it said.

The call for a new solid anti-corruption agency will be particularly angry for the ANC. The party abolished a similar body, the Scorpions, during Zuma’s rise to power more than a decade ago.

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