* Madonsela to meet Zuma on Thursday over graft claims
* AngloGold says president should resign, calls him corrupt
* Madonsela uncovered inappropriate spending by Zuma
(Adds Madonsela comment)
By Joe Brock
JOHANNESBURG, Oct 5 South Africa's public
protector will question President Jacob Zuma on Thursday over
allegations he was influenced by the wealthy Gupta family in
making government appointments.
The Gupta family became household names in South Africa
after Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said they offered to
secure him his boss's job.
Zuma says the Guptas are his friends but denies they have
influenced political appointments.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, having already quizzed
Ajay Gupta for four hours on Tuesday, said she would meet with
Zuma on Thursday, she told 702 Talk Radio.
Madonsela said the interview will be on allegations that
Zuma allowed the Gupta family to play a role in the selection
and appointment of ministers of board members of state-owned
She said she will also ask about the allegation that Zuma
either enabled or turned a blind eye to the Gupta family using
the relationship with him to gain favours in terms of tenders,
payments and licences.
Madonsela had earlier told Business Day newspaper in an
interview published on Wednesday that: "We will hear his version
of events and he may have information for us that we will need
to consider against our own findings."
Presidency spokesman Bongani Majola confirmed the meeting
would take place, Business Day said. Majola did not respond to a
request for comment.
Zuma has come under criticism in recent months from
opponents and members of his own African National Congress (ANC)
party over a series of corruption scandals.
The chairman of AngloGold Ashanti, Sipho Pityana,
on Wednesday became the latest business leader to call for Zuma
to resign, calling him the "sponsor in chief" of corruption.
"Zuma must go," Sipho Pityana said to a round of applause
from delegates at a mining conference. "We must seize the moment
and save South Africa."
Some members of the ANC have also called for a change of
leadership in recent weeks as internal divisions widened
following the party's worst ever local election results in
Zuma still has the backing of the top echelons of the ANC
and millions of diehard supporters in rural regions.
Markets have been spooked by allegations Zuma is locked in a
power struggle with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan over, among
other things, the issuing of government tenders to the Gupta
family and its influence over the ANC.
The Guptas, who moved to South Africa from India after
apartheid fell in 1994, run businesses ranging from uranium and
coal mining to media and information technology.
Madonsela has already interviewed Gordhan, his predecessor,
Nhlanhla Nene, and Jonas. She will interview at least 20 other
top officials and members of Zuma's cabinet, according to local
media. Her report should be released by Oct. 14,
her chief of staff told Reuters.
Madonsela, whose term as public protector ends this month,
previously received public support in South Africa for taking
Zuma to task over the spending of 240 million rand ($17 million)
of state money on upgrading his private home.
She was vindicated in March when South Africa's highest
court said Zuma had breached the constitution by ignoring her
recommendation that he repay some money that was spent on
Zuma has since handed back some of the funds.
(Additional reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Toby Chopra)