South Africa's top prosecutor believes there is enough evidence to bring renewed graft charges against Jacob Zuma, newly elected head of the ruling ANC, a local radio station reported yesterday.
Talk Radio 702 quoted prosecutor Mokotedi Mpshe as saying a decision was imminent on whether to take action against Zuma, who ousted President Thabo Mbeki as ANC leader on Tuesday.
But Mpshe, acting director of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), only said on air: "The investigation is complete, all we are doing now is tying (up) the loose ends."
An NPA spokesman said he could not comment.
Zuma was elected president of the ANC at a party conference in Polokwane. Because of the ANC's electoral dominance, Zuma is expected to become president when Mbeki steps down in 2009 but a graft conviction would force him to stand down.
Uncertainty over the charges is one of several issues causing concern among investors after Zuma's election.
Mbeki fired Zuma in 2005 after he was charged with bribery and fraud over an arms scandal. The case collapsed on a technicality.
Days before Zuma became ANC leader, an elite crime unit called the Scorpions filed papers in the Constitutional Court containing what they said was new evidence against him.
Zuma denies any wrongdoing. His supporters allege he is the victim of a plot by Mbeki, who was humiliated in the ANC vote and now has no office in the party. Critics accuse Mbeki of using state institutions to purge opponents.
"The timing by (the) NPA is ... odd given the fact that the ANC conference is still in session and can only be meant to stir tempers and provoke delegates," said Buti Manamela, spokesman for the Young Communist League.
Zuma's lawyer, Michael Hulley, said Mpshe had not notified him about possible legal action against the ANC leader.