- Title: South Africa's Zuma says not afraid of jail
- Date: 5th November 2016
- Summary: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (FILE) (REUTERS) SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA SINGING ON STAGE WITH DEPUTY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA NELSON MANDELA POSTER AT AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS (ANC)
- Embargoed: 20th November 2016 16:11
- Keywords: South Africa Zuma corruption court ANC
- Location: JOHANNESBURG / KWA-ZULU NATAL PROVINCE / PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA
- City: JOHANNESBURG / KWA-ZULU NATAL PROVINCE / PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA00157639DZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: In his first public appearance since investigators documented signs of government corruption, South African President Jacob Zuma told supporters he wasn't scared of going to prison because he had been jailed during apartheid.
The Public Protector, an anti-graft watchdog, said in a report last week that a judge should investigate whether Zuma, cabinet members and some state companies acted improperly in their dealings with wealthy Indian businessmen.
The Gupta brothers, Ajay, Atul and Rajesh, who are friends of Zuma and work with his son, have been accused of influencing cabinet appointments and securing sweetheart government tenders. Zuma and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing.
Thousands of protesters called for the president to resign after the 355-page probe was released, and some opposition politicians said Zuma should face criminal charges.
"Even if I were to be arrested today, I'm used to being imprisoned. I was in prison for ten years, you will not scare me with jail," Zuma told a cheering crowd in his home Kwa-Zulu Natal province on Saturday (November 5).
Zuma spent a decade as a political prisoner on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela during white-minority rule.
"There's no longer any space for democratic debate. The only space there is, is for court arguments by lawyers. That's not democracy, that's misinterpretation of democracy," Zuma added.
The Public Protector's investigation stopped short of saying crimes had been committed, but recommended a judge take the investigation forward.
In one case, the report cited "extraordinary and unprecedented" government intervention in a private business dispute involving Zuma's friends and his son.
This, it said, may have created "a possible conflict of interest between the President as head of state and his private interest as a friend and father."
Zuma faces a no-confidence vote in parliament next week. He has survived two similar votes this year, backed by the support of his African National Congress (ANC) which controls about two-thirds of the assembly.
Since taking office in 2009, Zuma, 74, has overcome several corruption scandals with the backing of top echelons of the ANC.
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