South Africa's Ramaphosa to testify at inquiry into Zuma-era corruption


FILE PHOTO: President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his State of the Nation address in parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, February 11, 2021. Esa Alexander/Pool via REUTERS

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Wednesday give testimony at an inquiry into corruption under his predecessor Jacob Zuma where he is expected to reveal what he witnessed as Zuma's deputy and explain why he did not act.

Ramaphosa was deputy president from 2014 until 2018, when his allies in the governing African National Congress (ANC) party engineered Zuma's ouster.

He has repeatedly pledged to crack down on graft since taking over as head of state.

A short statement from the presidency last month said Ramaphosa would appear before the "state capture" inquiry in his capacity as president and former deputy president of the country and the ANC.

Ramaphosa is expected to give evidence from around 10 a.m. local time (0800 GMT).

The inquiry was set up during Zuma's final weeks in office.

The allegations against Zuma include that he allowed businessmen close to him - brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta - to influence policy and win lucrative government contracts during his nine years in power.

Zuma and the Guptas deny wrongdoing.

Zuma appeared briefly before the inquiry in 2019 but defied a summons and court order to give evidence earlier this year. The inquiry's lawyers are seeking his imprisonment as a result.

The testimony by Ramaphosa is a rare care of a sitting South African president testifying at a judicial inquiry into wrongdoing.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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