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South African Minister faces corruption charges during coalition discussions

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Zizi Kodwa, South Africa’s sports, arts and culture minister, has been arrested and charged with taking bribes as his party, the African National Congress (ANC), struggles to form a government. Kodwa appeared in court alongside another accused individual, where he was granted bail. The charges against him stem from accusations of accepting bribes in connection with contracts given by the city of Johannesburg to upgrade and maintain the metro’s software systems. Kodwa has stated that he intends to plead not guilty to the charges.

The allegations against Kodwa first emerged during a judicial inquiry in 2021 that looked into widespread government corruption involving ANC officials. It is claimed that Kodwa used some of the bribe money to purchase a luxury SUV. These allegations date back to Kodwa’s time as the national spokesperson for the ANC and later as the deputy minister of state security. Despite the charges against him, Kodwa has indicated that he will not evade trial and will disclose his defense at a later stage.

As the ANC grapples with the aftermath of losing its 30-year majority in the recent election, it has been forced to engage in coalition talks in order to form a new government. Kodwa’s arrest comes at a critical time for the party, as it seeks to regain support following a decline in popularity due in part to issues of government corruption. The ANC received 40 percent of the vote in the election, marking the first time it has lost its parliamentary majority.

Kodwa, who is a member of the ANC’s National Working Committee, plays a key role in the party’s decision-making process. The committee met recently to discuss potential coalition partners and the formation of a new government. The ANC has not yet revealed which party or parties it may align with to govern, and negotiations are ongoing. The outcome of these talks will be crucial in determining the future direction of South Africa’s government and political landscape.

While Kodwa’s arrest has raised questions about the ANC’s commitment to tackling corruption within its ranks, the party remains focused on forming a new government and regaining the trust of the South African people. The outcome of the coalition talks will be closely watched by both supporters and critics of the ANC, as they could have far-reaching implications for the country’s political future. As Kodwa prepares to face trial on the bribery charges, the ANC faces a pivotal moment in its history as it seeks to navigate the challenges of governing in a post-majority era.

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