, PRETORIA, Aug 5 – South African President Jacob Zuma was due to appear Monday before a public inquiry into a multi-billion dollar arms deal that has brought graft allegations against him and several top government officials.
The commission is investigating kickbacks in a $3 billion weapons deal made in 1999 that has dogged Zuma and the ruling ANC for a decade.
The commission, delayed for five months, has suffered a series of controversial resignations – including the departure of two of the three original judges – throwing its effectiveness into question.
Security was boosted around the Pretoria Council Chamber where the hearing was due to take place, with police vehicles and fire trucks stationed outside.
With less than a year before elections in South Africa, the saga also risks threatening the credibility of both Zuma and the African National Congress with voters.
Elizabeth Ntsae, a 32-year-old accountant from Pretoria, said government corruption was the reason she would not be voting for the ANC in the election.
“Our government failed us, our government failed us,” said Ntsae. “If the head is corrupt, the whole body will be corrupt.”