South Africa: Opposition targets Zuma, Guptas | Africa | DW | 17.10.2016
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South Africa

South Africa: Opposition targets Zuma, Guptas

South Africa’s DA and EFF have accused President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family of ruining the country. The DA also wants a new public protector report, now under lock and key, released.

The political crisis in South Africa shows no sign of easing after the most vocal opponents of President Jacob Zuma, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) opposition parties, accused Zuma's son Duduzane and the Gupta family of serious economic crimes. The Guptas are a wealthy Indian family who are allegedly linked to Zuma's family businesses.

The opposition parties accuse the Guptas of racketeering, money laundering, and corruption among other things.  The charges follow an explosive affidavit in which the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan claimed that the Gupta brothers and Duduzane Zuma had been involved in suspicious and unusual transactions amounting to nearly 7 billion rand ($70 million, 45 millon euros) over a four year period.

The firebrand EFF not only laid charges against the Gupta brothers and Duduzane Zuma but also against Zuma's Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane. EFF Deputy leader Floyd Shivambu told DW, the Zuma-Gupta connection had destroyed the country and needed to be stopped. "The Guptas will be brought down to their knees and are going to be brought down together with their handler Jacob Zuma," Shivambu said.

Südafrika Proteste vor ANC Zentrale in Johannesburg (Reuters/S. Sibeko)

Opposition supporters have been calling on Zuma to resign

Shivambu also accused  Duduzane Zuma of being "nothing but a proxy of Jacob Zuma."

DA pushes for legal action

In a similar move, the DA led by Mmusi Maimane has stated that they want police to speed up investigations into Zuma and Guptas under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act. DA Party spokesman David Maynier told local media he had filed charges against the Guptas and Zuma's son under the terms of this act at a Cape Town police station in March.     

There have been vocal expressions of  support for embattled Finance Minister Gordhan by key political and corporate leaders. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a number of his cabinet colleagues, former anti-apartheid struggle stalwarts and activists and more than a dozen top business people in the country have officially sided with Gordhan who is to face fraud charges on November 2 after being summoned by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Ralph Mathegka, a political analyst in Johannesburg told DW "you can say that the game plan now favors Gordhan because now the issue involves the court, which has been very indpendent and quite often the court has been quite scathing of some of the decisions taken by Mr Zuma."    

DA chief Mmusi Maimane told DW he questions why Gordhan was swiftly charged whereas no action has  been taken so far to process the corruption charges against President Zuma. "Ultimately it is selective prosecution in that they [the NPA] failed to charge Jacob Zuma for the 783 charges for fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering," Maimane said. He said the DA "will argue strongly that the report [Thuli Madonsela's] must be released as a matter of urgency and that it must be made public. He was referring to the document drawn up by the outgoing public protector (ombudswoman) into allegations that Zuma allowed the Guptas to have undue influence over the government.

Südafrika Kommunalwahl Oppostion Mmusi Maimane (picture-alliance/AP Photo/H. Verwey)

DA leader Mmusi Maimane wants the 'state capture' report to be made public

 Calls to defend Zuma 

Zuma's alleged compromised position has led to mounting calls for his resignation both from the opposition and some members from his own ruling ANC.

But Zuma's supporters, led by the ANC Youth League chairman Colin Maine, have vowed to defend Zuma. "We must rise and indicate to the enemy that we are more than ready," Maine said while addressing supporters. He called on his supporters to arm themselves and defend what he called "the revolution." 

The threat of violence by Zuma's supporters has been strongly condemned and one of the political parties – Congress of the People (Cope) – has laid a charge against Maine for making inflammatory, dangerous and reckless comments.

Jacob Zuma Präsident Südafrika (Getty Images/AFP/M. Safodien)

The ANC Youth League has vowed to defend President Zuma

The ruling ANC has also condemned the incitement to violence and reminded its members that South Africa was a democratic country and Zuma was democratically elected. The ruling party's spokesperson Zizi Kodwa instructed Maine to withdraw his  remarks. 

Subry Govender contributed to this report.


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