South Africa's graft-tainted president Jacob Zuma has announced a probe into corruption at the highest levels of the state after parliament indicated it would this week deliberate procedures for impeachment.
Corruption allegations have tarnished Zuma's image as well as eroded his support base and he was ordered last month to appoint a judicial inquiry into the alleged graft within 30 days.
The beleaguered leader has faced growing pressure to resign before his term as president ends in 2019.
The Constitutional Court had ruled nearly two weeks ago that MPs failed to hold Zuma accountable for the millions in public money used to upgrade his personal residence.
"The allegations that the state has been wrestled out of the hands of its real owner' the people of South Africa' is of paramount importance and are therefore deserving of finality and certainty'" Zuma said in a statement yesterday.
"The matter cannot wait any longer," he said, adding: "I have decided to appoint a commission of inquiry."
He said further delays in appointing the commission would make the public doubt the government's commitment to dismantling "all forms of corruption" and entrench "the perception" that the state has been captured by private interests.
In 2014 Zuma had failed to abide by recommendations made by the country's anti-corruption watchdog over USD 15 million (12.5 million euros) of taxpayer-funded refurbishments at his personal home in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province.
After the Constitutional Court found against him, he eventually reimbursed the equivalent of around USD 500,000 for non-security-related work at his homestead, a sum set by the treasury.
In 2016 a damning report questioned Zuma's dealings with the Guptas, a wealthy family of Indian origin, who allegedly were granted influence over his cabinet appointments.
Last month also saw Zuma suffer another blow when his vice-president Cyril Ramaphosa, who campaigned on an anti- corruption ticket, was elected ANC president after seeing off Zuma's former wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Ramaphosa is set to distance himself from Zuma as the ANC seeks to retain its absolute majority in next year's general elections even if the latter still retains a constituency of support within the movement after 10 years as its leader.
Before taking office, Zuma dismayed the nation during his 2006 rape trial when he told the court he had showered after having unprotected sex with his young HIV-positive accuser to avoid, he said, contracting the virus.
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