South African President Jacob Zuma said he would appoint a commission of inquiry into allegations that the Gupta family was allowed to influence state decisions and that he would abide by a court ruling for the Chief Justice to select its leader.
The High Court in December rejected Zuma’s arguments that he alone can set up the commission and ordered him to pay the cost of the case. While the president has appealed the cost order and the judgment regarding the duties of the president to appoint commissions, he said in a statement he is taking further legal advice on this.
“I am concerned that this matter has occupied the public mind for some time now and deserves urgent attention,” Zuma said.
“The allegations that the state has been wrestled out of the hands of its real owners, the people of South Africa, is of paramount importance and are therefore deserving of finality and certainty.”
Zuma’s about-turn comes a day before the new top leadership of the ruling African National Congress meets for the first time on Wednesday.
A proposal to order Zuma to step down before his term ends in 2019 will be discussed at the gathering in the city of East London, according to three people who spoke on condition of anonymity. Zuma’s scandal-tainted ten-ure has eroded support for
the ANC and he lost control
of the party to his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, at an elective
conference last month.