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SAfrica's graft-tainted Zuma announces anti-corruption probe

AFP  |  Johannesburg 

South Africa's graft-tainted has announced a probe into corruption at the highest levels of the state after indicated it would this week deliberate procedures for

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 ends in 2019.

Zuma's announcement comes the day before is to take up a draft of a process for removing the nation's from office.

The Constitutional 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.

In power since 2009, Zuma stepped down in December as president of the ruling African National (ANC) party after a 10-year tenure marked by numerous judgements against him.

"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.

Zuma said the commission would be headed by Deputy Chief Justice

South Africa's main oppostion cheered the creation of the probe.

"The commission is a step towards ridding the country of corruption, and must do its work without delay," said in a statement.

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-province.

After the Constitutional 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 Cyril Ramaphosa, who campaigned on an anti- corruption ticket, was elected after seeing off Zuma's former wife

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.

The claim incensed safe-sex campaigners - not least because Zuma was of the country's national council at the time.

Zuma was acquitted of rape but is often mocked in newspaper cartoons depicting him with a shower nozzle sprouting from his

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 10 2018. 16:15 IST