South African president to testify at corruption inquiry

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FILE PHOTO: President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his State of the Nation address in parliament in Cape Town

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will testify as a witness before a long-running corruption inquiry for four days late next month, the presidency said on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa will give evidence to the inquiry, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and established to test allegations that former President Jacob Zuma allowed three businessmen who were close to him to plunder state resources and influence government appointments while he was in power.

Zuma was ousted by the governing African National Congress (ANC) in February 2018, and his successor Ramaphosa has been battling to revive investor confidence dented by widespread corruption implicating senior politicians.

"The presidency wishes to confirm that president Cyril Ramaphosa will appear ... on April 22, 23, 28 and 29," a statement from his office said.

Ramaphosa is expected to give evidence in his capacity as president and former deputy president of the country, and as president and former deputy president of the ANC. In both instances, Ramaphosa served as deputy under Zuma's leadership.

Ramaphosa has repeatedly spoken out on the need to respect the constitution and rule of law.

Zuma faces possible arrest after refusing to obey a court order to appear at the same inquiry.

Zuma, who denies any wrongdoing, failed to have Zondo recuse himself from the corruption inquiry and chose not to recognise its authority, saying Zondo is biased against him.

(Reporting by Wendell Roelf, Editing by Timothy Heritage)