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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Security tight ahead of Zuma appearance at South Africa graft inquiry

South Africa security personnel have gathered in large numbers at the Johannesburg venue where former president Jacob Zuma will appear, for the first time, before the commission of inquiry into state capture on Monday.

Security has been ramped up as both his supporters and detractors are expected to stage demonstrations outside the venue in Parktown.

Police nyalas, a water cannon, police and Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) cars are maintaining vigil outside the gates of the inquiry.

Former President Jacob Zuma is due to be questioned, live on television, at a corruption inquiry on Monday, and for the rest of the week.

Mr Zuma, who has been implicated in wrongdoing by numerous witnesses, has said he is the victim of a political witch hunt.

This should be a momentous week for democratic South Africa.

A disgraced former president obliged to account in public, before a judge-led inquiry, for the astonishingly brazen corruption that flourished during his nine years in power.

During months of televised testimony, many senior officials have directly linked Mr Zuma to alleged corruption.

But Mr Zuma has laughed at those allegations and insists he is innocent.

He may decline to cooperate fully with the inquiry. He is certain to use it as a pulpit to claim he is the victim of a political conspiracy.

This is a tense time here. Mr Zuma’s successor, President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to clean up state institutions and unite the governing ANC.

But there is evidence that powerful figures implicated in corruption are fighting back, trying to undermine the government and seize control of the ANC.

One the eve of the hearing Mr Zuma was clearly in a good mood. He tweeted a video of himself laughing at the chant: “Zuma must go!”

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