Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

South African police raid home of Zuma associates amid influence-peddling probe

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Ellis Copeland | 14 February, 2018, 18:51

On Monday, the secretary general of the ruling African National Congress, Ace Magashule, said Mr Zuma would host a 10am (local time) briefing in response to the ANC's call for him to resign following allegations of corruption.

Mr. Zuma has been ordered to resign by the ruling ANC party, and is expected to respond to the order later in the day.

The early morning raid, which the police's elite Hawks unit said resulted in three arrests, took place amid reports Zuma was preparing to tell the country he was stepping down.

Meanwhile, heavily armed South African police on Wednesday raided the Johannesburg residence of the controversial Gupta family, said to have corrupt links to the 75-year-old Zuma.

An opposition request for a no-confidence vote against Zuma this week was still being considered by the parliament speaker.

Cape Town - The rand stayed within its expected daily range on Wednesday, after President Jacob Zuma pleaded innocence and ignorance on why the ANC wants him to step down, saying he felt victimised.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said Tuesday that it had been informed by the chief prosecutor that his team will provide its recommendation on February 23 about whether to prosecute Zuma on the old charges. The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.

The power struggle over his departure put him on a collision course with Cyril Ramaphosa, his expected successor, the new head of the African National Congress.

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"I don't understand it", Zuma said in an interview with the SABC, about the demand by the ANC's national executive committee that he immediately step down.

Zuma's presidency has been marred by slow economic growth, continuing racial inequality and record unemployment that have fuelled public frustration.

The President has been discredited by a number of corruption scandals and Mr Ramaphosa was chosen in December to replace him as ANC leader. The president also faces almost 800 corruption allegations stemming from an arms deal during the 1990s.

Also Wednesday, police raided the home of prominent business associates of Zuma who are accused of being at the centre of corruption scandals that have infuriated the country, hurt the ANC's popularity and weakened the economy.

The party - once led by Nelson Mandela - is desperately trying to resolve the leadership crisis and bounce back in popularity ready for the country's next election.

South Africa's top court has ruled that he violated the constitution following an investigation of multi-million-dollar upgrades to his private home using state money.

The embattled Gupta family own a range of business interests in South Africa, including computing, mining, air travel, energy, technology and media.

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