South Africa’s Zizi Kodwa Resigns as Minister After Charges

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s Zizi Kodwa has resigned as minister of sports, arts and culture after appearing a Johannesburg court on corruption charges on Wednesday.

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Kodwa informed President Cyril Ramaphosa that he will resign as minister and as a member of cabinet after being formally charged, the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture said in a statement.

Kodwa was released on bail of 30,000 rand ($1,593) earlier in the day. He “challenges the charges against him, which he strongly denies,” the statement said.

The ANC adopted a rule in 2017 that criminally charged leaders had to step aside from their party positions until their cases were resolved. While critics say its application has been haphazard, it led to the resignation of former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and the removal of former party Secretary General Ace Magashule from his post.

The ANC “notes” the charges brought against Kodwa, party spokeswoman Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri told reporters. “The constitution of ANC will kick in. We respect the rule of law.”

The charges against Kodwa and co-accused Jehan Mackay, a former executive at EOH Holdings Ltd., stem from findings by a judicial commission that investigated corruption and mismanagement during the tenure of former President Jacob Zuma. They form part of a probe into contracts worth more than 460 million rand that the City of Johannesburg awarded to EOH in 2016, News24 reported earlier.

Ramaphosa appointed Kodwa to his cabinet post in March 2023. Prior to that, he had served as deputy minister of state security for four years, including during the deadly July 2021 riots which led to the restructure of the nation’s state security forces.

Kodwa was 25th on the African National Congress’s list of 200 candidates for the National Assembly in last week’s election.

--With assistance from Ana Monteiro.

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