CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South African President Jacob Zuma is consulting legal advisers about setting up a judicial inquiry into allegations of influence-peddling within his government, his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa told parliament on Wednesday.
New allegations in recent weeks of inappropriate collusion between state-owned companies and business interests close to Zuma have put more pressure on the scandal-plagued leader and ministers close to him.
“He (Zuma) has indicated that he is not opposed to the establishment of a commission of inquiry and as we speak now, he is in the process of consulting his legal advisers to find ways of giving effect to this proposal,” Ramaphosa told parliament on Wednesday.
The recent leak of a tranche of emails from the Gupta brothers, rich Indian businessmen who are friends of Zuma and whose business empire is central to allegations of state capture, has rocked the ruling African National Congress. The party is due to hold a conference in December to elect a new leader.
Zuma, who has steadfastly denied any impropriety in his relationship with the Gupta family, has survived several calls from party insiders to step down before his term as state president ends in 2019.
“State capture can be said in whatever form it takes, is abhorrent and it is something that we all as South Africans should not and cannot tolerate,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa, a trade unionist turned billionaire businessman, is seen as a front-runner to replace Zuma, whose wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been endorsed by the ANC’s youth and women’s league, as well as some of the party’s military veterans.
Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Hugh Lawson