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South Africa’s Zuma moves to block graft report: spokesman

South African President Jacob Zuma   / AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA

South African President Jacob Zuma / AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA

South Africa’s embattled President Jacob Zuma on Thursday served a court notice to block a watchdog from releasing a report into allegations that he was involved in corruption, his spokesman said.

Zuma, 74, has survived a series of damaging graft scandals, but has faced increasing criticism in the last year as the country’s economy stalls and after his ruling ANC party suffered unprecedented losses in local polls.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela had been expected to release on Friday her report into allegations that Zuma let a wealthy business family have undue influence over the government and were even able to choose ministers.

“There is an application for an urgent interdict,” Zuma’s spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga told AFP without giving further details.

The Times Live website said that the court application was due to be heard on Tuesday.

Zuma endured another bout of criticism this week after Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was summoned to court on separate graft charges.

Gordhan has alleged that the case against him is politically motivated, while many analysts say he has been targeted by Zuma loyalists.

The announcement on Tuesday that Gordhan would be prosecuted sparked investor fears that he would also be sacked — a move likely to spell further trouble for South Africa’s dire economic health.

Gordhan, an internationally-respected technocrat, was appointed only last year to calm panicked investors after Zuma sacked two finance ministers within four days.

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