South Africa’s leftist opposition party on Friday laid graft charges against President Jacob Zuma and his new finance minister over the acquisition of locomotives by the state rail company five years ago.
Economic Freedom Fighters Party (EFF) leader Julius Malema opened the case against minister Malusi Gigaba at a Johannesburg police station, alleging corruption in the purchase of locomotives for the state rail firm Transnet in 2012.
“We came to open a case against Jacob Zuma, Malusi Gigaba and those Gupta crooks who stole 17 billion (rand) in Transnet,” Malema told supporters outside a police station after he lodged the criminal complaint.
Thousands of leaked emails have recently emerged in the local press exposing alleged misconduct over lucrative government contracts awarded to the Guptas, an influential Indian business family.
“We want to protect the South African purse which Zuma and his friends have turned into a personal purse. We must defend the limited resources of our state,” he added.
Malusi was appointed at the end of March in a cabinet reshuffle that axed respected minister Pravin Gordhan and shook the markets.
The EFF alleges that Malusi influenced the awarding of a tender to buy the train locomotives at inflated prices at a time he was the public enterprise minister.
Last year, a report by the state ombudsman called for a probe into allegations Zuma allowed the Guptas to have unprecedented influence over the government — including letting them select ministers.
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