An anti-corruption watchdog's recommendation to set up a judicial inquiry into widening allegations of influence peddling within the South African government is being challenged by lawyers for its president, Jacob Zuma. Matthew Larotonda reports.
Lawyers for South African President Jacob Zuma have told a superior court to disregard calls for an anti-corruption probe led by the judiciary. The investigation was reccomended by a watchdog office. Its report last year alleged inappropriate links between businesses and top Zuma officials, although it didn't directly accuse the president himself. Zuma's defenders telling the court that the agency behind the report didn't have the jurisdiction to call for an investigation, particularly without specific findings of misconduct. They had already tried to squash the report once, before its public release. The issue connects to a widening array of corruption allegations surrounding the administration. And many, including last year's report, specifically mention Zuma's connections to a family of business tycoons named the Guptas. Their empire spans industries including computer technology and air travel, and they own these television and newspaper outlets. Powerful enough that the police once provided an escort for guests at a Gupta family wedding. This 2013 video showing people who traveled to South Africa for the event being escorted from a military base normally reserved for diplomats and official business. The Guptas also the former employers of the president's son and daughter, and one of his wives. Both families have denied wrongdoing. But it's been recently reported that the FBI and British financial investigators are looking into overseas links to the Guptas. Zuma's lawyers now have three days to make the case for throwing out the probe. If they're successful the president still faces the possibility of more legal headaches. The Supreme Court upholding a decision earlier this month to reinstate almost 800 corruption charges filed against him before he took office.