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New S. African Leader Emerges Amid Corruption Controversy

South Africa's top prosecutor said that he plans to bring corruption charges against Jacob Zuma, the newly elected leader of the African National Congress. A reporter looks at the man likely to become South Africa's next president.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And finally tonight, a new leader emerges in South Africa. Ray Suarez has our coverage.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Just two days ago, Jacob Zuma was elected president of the African National Congress and gained a clear path to the South African presidency.

    Today, Zuma was told he could face criminal charges in the new year, stemming from his time as deputy to South African President Thabo Mbeki.

    Zuma and Mbeki were once friends and allies, but they had a very public falling out in the last two years. Mbeki fired Zuma as deputy president in 2005 after Zuma's financial adviser was convicted of soliciting bribes on Zuma's behalf.

    Then, Zuma unseated Mbeki in a rout at this week's ANC Party Congress, which was the most bitterly divisive gathering in the party's history.

  • JACOB ZUMA, President, African National Congress:

    There is no reason for uncertainty or fear in any quarter.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    And in a speech to the congress today, Zuma struck a conciliatory tone.

  • JACOB ZUMA:

    We have taken various resolutions at this conference which will guide us on our way forward.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    But if criminal charges are filed against Zuma, he would have to give up his newly won party post. South Africa's top prosecutor said today there is sufficient evidence to charge the 65-year-old Zuma with corruption and tax evasion from bribes tied to a multibillion-dollar arms deal. The prosecutor said a final decision would come soon.

    Zuma, close to the pinnacle of power in a country of some 48 million people, says the charges are politically motivated.

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