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South African Cabinet minister arrested on bribery allegations

South African Cabinet Minister Zizi Kodwa of the African National Congress was arrested and appeared in court on bribery charges. He said he intends to plead not guilty.

A South African Cabinet minister who is a senior member of the African National Congress was arrested and appeared in court on Wednesday over allegations of bribery, just as his party was meeting for talks to work out a way forward for the country after an election deadlock.

Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa faces charges of taking bribes of around $90,000, according to police. He appeared in a courtroom in Johannesburg alongside another suspect in the case. Kodwa said he intended to plead not guilty to the charges.

Kodwa, 54, is a member of the ANC's internal National Working Committee, which met Tuesday as the party discusses how it might form a government after losing its 30-year majority in an election last week. The ANC has not given any indication of which other party or parties it might strike an agreement with to co-govern and talks are ongoing.

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Kodwa was implicated in taking bribes from a businessman at a judicial inquiry in 2021 that looked into allegations of widespread government corruption involving ANC officials and others. The allegations relate to the time when Kodwa was the national spokesperson for the ANC and later the deputy minister of state security.

Police allege that Kodwa used some of the bribes to buy a "luxury" SUV vehicle.

Government corruption was seen as one of the issues that prompted a majority of South Africans to turn away from the ANC in the election. It received 40% of the vote to lose its parliamentary majority for the first time and now needs to form a coalition or agreement with others.

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