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Anti-corruption protests call on South Africa's Jacob Zuma to resign

Three separate demonstrations in Pretoria protested against allegations of government cronyism and graft.

By
Ed Adamczyk
South African President Jacob Zuma, here at the United Nations in September, is under fire for alleged graft and corruption within his government. Demonstrations calling for his resignation drew thousands in Pretoria Wednesday. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI
South African President Jacob Zuma, here at the United Nations in September, is under fire for alleged graft and corruption within his government. Demonstrations calling for his resignation drew thousands in Pretoria Wednesday. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

PRETORIA, South Africa, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Thousands of anti-corruption protesters filled the streets of Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, calling for the removal of President Jacob Zuma.

A "Save South Africa" movement, comprised of disgruntled business and civil service workers, as well as disaffected officials of Zuma's ruling African National Congress Party, protested government corruption near the capital's St. Albans Cathedral. Elsewhere in the city, the right-wing Democratic Alliance and the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters held protests of their own. Demonstrators called for the removal of Zuma, who they accuse of expanding cronyism and graft in the government.

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Corruption allegations against Zuma have been increasing, and protesters cheered an announcement that he would end a court attempt to block a release of a government report by anti-corruption chief Thuli Madonsela. The report is believed to contain damaging information about Zuma regarding allegations the wealthy Gupta family of South Africa has wielded undue influence in the government. Madonsela's investigation was prompted by comments made in March by Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas that the Gupta family had made "a mockery of our hard-earned democracy" by offering him the finance minister's post last year; Jonas declined the nomination.

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Zuma's term in office ends in 2019, and for years he has denied wrongdoing. The Gupta family, which includes three brothers who arrived in South Africa from India in 1993 and has become successful in the country's air travel, mining and media industries, deny influencing government appointments to advance their businesses.

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Zuma has also fought with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan over government spending, whose fraud case was dropped by the government on Monday. Ratings firms have warned that South Africa's political infighting could lead to a severe downgrade in its bond status.

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