Former South African president Jacob Zuma will be questioned at a public inquiry into state graft on Monday, a dramatic fall from grace for a politician who has cast a long shadow over the country’s politics for the past decade.
He has consistently denied wrongdoing, saying the allegations against him are politically motivated. His lawyer said in a letter to the inquiry last month that Zuma believed it was prejudiced against him.
Zuma, 77, has also been in court on several occasions over the past year to answer corruption charges linked to a deal to buy military hardware for the armed forces in the 1990s.
He set up the corruption inquiry in his final weeks in office under pressure from rivals in the ANC, including his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, who feared scandals surrounding Zuma could tarnish the party’s reputation indelibly.
The Gupta family, business friends of Zuma, denied the accusations and left South Africa around the time that Zuma was ousted.
Ramaphosa, Zuma’s former deputy, has made sweeping personnel changes in government and state-owned companies as part of an effort to curb corruption and revive the stagnant economy.
However, he has been hampered by the lingering influence that Zuma and his allies exert over the ANC’s top decision-making bodies, as well as by the scale of the problems he inherited.