Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 19 October 2019

South Africa’s President accused of misleading Parliament

News came as former president Jacob Zuma abandoned his testimony to a high-profile state commission probing wide-ranging allegations of graft in government and state-owned companies

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his State of the Nation Address at parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Rodger Bosch/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his State of the Nation Address at parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Rodger Bosch/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

A South African corruption watchdog on Friday said President Cyril Ramaphosa “deliberately misled” Parliament about a campaign contribution, a setback for a leader who has vowed to address sprawling graft allegations that forced his predecessor from office and sparked national outrage.

The report was released as that former president, Jacob Zuma, abandoned his testimony to a high-profile state commission probing wide-ranging allegations of graft in government and state-owned companies. Mr Zuma, who denies the allegations against him, asserted he was being treated unfairly. But a deal was quickly reached for him to return in the future.

The outcry over years of alleged corruption during Mr Zuma’s time in office has shaken both the economy of South Africa, the most developed in sub-Saharan Africa, and public support for the ruling African National Congress. The party has been in power since the end of the harsh system of racial segregation known as apartheid 25 years ago.

Now the ANC faces an internal struggle between allies of Mr Ramaphosa and Mr Zuma, who led South Africa from 2009 to 2018 when he resigned under party pressure and was replaced by Mr Ramaphosa, the former deputy leader.

The current president has repeatedly vowed to fight corruption and win back public confidence.

Friday’s report by South Africa’s public protector, a constitutionally created office that probes alleged misconduct in state affairs, said Mr Ramaphosa “deliberately misled” lawmakers late last year about a 500,000-rand ($34,000) campaign contribution from the CEO of a local company, Africa Global Operations, formerly Bosasa. The report called on the national director of public prosecutions to investigate further.

Updated: July 19, 2019 09:02 PM

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