South Africa's President Zuma to face ANC integrity panel

PUBLISHED: Fri, 25 Nov 2016 10:24:35 GMT

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African President Jacob Zuma will be questioned next week by the African National Congress’ (ANC) integrity commission following persistent allegations of corruption and poor election results, the party said on Friday.

Zuma’s appearance before the panel could deepen divides within the ANC as it gears up for a national conference next year when Zuma, 74, is expected to stand down as party leader.

“He will be having a meeting with the IC,” ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe confirmed to Reuters, referring to the integrity commission.

Zuma’s meeting with the commission is expected to be held on Dec. 3 behind closed doors. Members of the ANC have been removed from their posts as a result of the commission’s recommendation.

The ANC formed the commission in 2013 to help protect its image and take “urgent action” to deal with members of the party who face allegations of improper conduct.

The Mail & Guardian newspaper reported on Friday that the commission, headed by anti-apartheid stalwart Andrew Mlangeni, would question Zuma over a slew of corruption scandals and the party’s worst local election results in August.

Mantashe did not say what would be discussed at the meeting.

Several senior members of the ANC have called for Zuma to resign in recent months after scandals rattled markets in Africa’s most industrialised economy and cost the party votes.

A constitutionally-mandated anti-graft watchdog this month called for a judge to investigate allegations Zuma provided special favours for wealthy friends and allowed them to choose ministerial appointments. Zuma denies any wrongdoing.

In March, the Constitutional Court ordered Zuma to repay some of $16 million of state funds inappropriately spent on enhancing his country home. He has since paid back more than $500,000 as required by the court.

(Reporting by Joe Brock; Editing by James Macharia)

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