Journal De Bruxelles - Damning report lays out graft case against S.Africa's Zuma

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Damning report lays out graft case against S.Africa's Zuma
Damning report lays out graft case against S.Africa's Zuma

Damning report lays out graft case against S.Africa's Zuma

The latest damning report into former president Jacob Zuma, released late Tuesday, laid out the most detailed roadmap yet into how to prosecute his fusion of state, party and private business.

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A special inquiry handed over another 1,000-page report to President Cyril Ramaphosa, detailing how a private services company called Bosasa became enmeshed at the highest levels of government and the ruling African National Congress.

The report is the third of an expected four volumes written after three years of investigations led by acting chief justice Raymond Zondo.

The actual findings didn't break much new ground, as the scandals of Zuma's nine years in office were uncovered by local media at the time.

Whistleblowers, including Bosasa's former chief operating office Angelo Agrizzi, have written books detailing how Bosasa bribed Zuma and other top officials.

But the report set out a legal case, and urged prosecutors to take up the investigation.

"Corruption was Bosasa's way of doing business," the report said. "It bribed politicians, government officials, President Jacob Zuma and others extensively."

The ANC set up its election "war room" in Bosasa's offices, with Bosasa money, for the 2011, 2014 and 2016 election cycles, the report said.

"Corruption was central to Bosasa's business model," the report said. "Everything for the company came down to corruption."

Zuma had already been charged with 16 counts of fraud, graft and racketeering related to the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and equipment from five European arms firms in the 1990s.

The latest report adds to pressure to open new cases against Zuma and a slate of other top officials.

But the potential perils are great. Zuma's refusal to testify to Zondo's commission last year resulted in the Constitutional Court ordering him to prison in July for contempt of court.

That sparked protests in July by Zuma's supporters that spawned riots and looting that left more than 350 dead in the worst violence of the democratic era.

Zuma was released on health grounds after two months.

Political risks abound as well. Ramaphosa took the helm of the ANC, and the nation's presidency, promising to clean up corruption.

Laying charges against Zuma and his loyalists -- many of them still in powerful positions -- risks splintering the party ahead of its leadership conference in December.

In November's local elections, most registered voters did not bother to cast their ballots, and the ANC's support fell below 50 percent for the first time ever.

Now party officials are haunted by the possibility of an outright defeat in the 2024 general election.