Dec 14, 2017 Last Updated 3:12 PM, Dec 14, 2017
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South African President Jacob Zuma has lost two court cases in one day, both linked to corruption allegations.

Pretoria's High Court ordered Mr Zuma to set up a judicial inquiry, calling him "seriously reckless" for challenging recommendations by a watchdog in a case against him.

In the second case, a judge ruled he had abused the judicial process by trying to block a report on corruption, ordering him to pay legal fees.

Mr Zuma quits as ANC leader next week.

The party is currently battling to choose Mr Zuma's successor as leader. He is due to remain as president until elections in 2019.

In his 10-year term he has been dogged by allegations of corruption, all of which he denies.

BBC Africa correspondent Andrew Harding says the South African judiciary is flexing its muscles, at a time of deepening anxiety about state corruption and apparent impunity.

In the first ruling, the court gave Mr Zuma 30 days to appoint an inquiry into allegations of corruption against him and his associates.

The inquiry was one of the recommendations on state influence-peddling by the country's anti-corruption watchdog, which the president had tried to challenge.

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo described Mr Zuma's attempt to challenge the rulings as "ill-advised" and an abuse of the judicial process.

As yet Mr Zuma has not commented on the decision.

In a separate case, Judge Mlambo also ruled that Mr Zuma had been unreasonable in trying to use the courts to block the publication of an explosive official report into high-level corruption, known as state capture.

He ordered Mr Zuma to pay all legal costs out of his own pocket.

Our correspondent describes this as a withering and unprecedented judgement against a sitting president.

The report's author, Thuli Madonsela, told Reuters after the verdict: "An allegation that the state has been captured in the interests of the president and his friends is an allegation that needs to be investigated immediately."

Mr Zuma has been accused of conspiring with a wealthy business family, the Guptas, to control lucrative state contracts.

A leading contender to replace President Jacob Zuma as head of South Africa's governing ANC has said he believes the woman who accused Mr Zuma of rape over a decade ago was telling the truth.

Mr Zuma's deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, told a local radio station: "Yes, I would believe her."

In 2006 Mr Zuma was found not guilty of raping Fezekile Kuzwayo - the daughter of an old family friend.

He said she had agreed to have sex.

Mr Ramaphosa is competing against Mr Zuma's ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to become the leader of the ANC in a contest starting next Saturday.

The winner of the party race will be well placed to become the country's new president in 2019.

In the radio interview, Mr Ramaphosa praised Ms Kuzwayo's courage for taking the case to court, saying:

"I know how difficult and painful it is to for a woman to garner up the courage and say: 'Yes I was raped'. It must be one of the most difficult decisions she had to make."

Ms Kuzwayo, who was 32 years younger than Mr Zuma, fled abroad and later died after a long illness, but the BBC's Andrew Harding in Johannesburg says controversy surrounding the case has lingered.

Ms Kuzwayo was HIV-positive and Mr Zuma's statement during the trial, that he showered after unprotected sex with the woman to guard against possible infection, provoked ridicule.

When he acquitted Mr Zuma, the judge concluded: "The complainant was inclined to accuse men of raping her or attempting to rape her," .

The president's office has issued a statement saying: "The court acquitted the president of the rape charges.

"The presidency affirms the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the primacy of the courts as the final arbiters in disputes in society."

The race for the ANC:

Cyril Ramaphosa

  • Detained for two years for anti-apartheid activities; launched mineworkers' union in 1982
  • Headed committee that prepared for Nelson Mandela's release from prison
  • Left politics to become one of South Africa's richest businessmen - on Lonmin board during 2012 Marikana massacre
  • Became South Africa's deputy president in 2014.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

  • A leading anti-apartheid activist, fled South Africa to complete medical training in UK
  • Met Jacob Zuma while working as a doctor in Swaziland, divorcing him after 16 years of marriage in 1998
  • Declined offer to take place of her ex-husband as deputy president in 2005 after he was sacked
  • Chair of the African Union commission from 2012 to 2016.

At least 36 people have died in an outbreak of listeria in South Africa, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has said.

A total of 557 cases had been reported, mostly in the economic hub of Gauteng, followed by Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal.

Speaking at a press conference, Dr Motsoaledi said that while listeria is a serious disease, it can be treated with antibiotics.

The bacteria is found in soil, water and vegetation, and contaminates food sources such as animal products and fresh produce.

The disase mainly affects newborns, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems.

The South African government has tweeted that washing hands is extremely important to prevent getting listeria.

South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, 65, has a strong lead in the race to become the new leader of the governing African National Congress.

He emerged as frontrunner after ANC party branches chose between him and his rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

She is a prominent politician and the ex-wife of scandal-prone President Jacob Zuma, who steps down this month.

The winner of the party race will be well placed to become the country's new president in 2019.

But the BBC's Andrew Harding in Johannesburg says the final vote is likely to be close.

The ANC party branches will account for 90% of the 5,240 voting delegates at the ANC's party conference which starts on 16 December, South Africa's News24 reports.

However, some branches get more than one vote as the bigger the branch, the more delegates it can send to the conference.

Mr Ramaphosa, who has been highly critical of state corruption and is backed by the business community and unions, took the lead in five of the country's nine provinces.

But Mrs Dlamini-Zuma, a former African Union Commission chairwoman with the endorsement of her ex-husband to succeed him as ANC president, has the lead in the two provinces with the most ANC delegates - KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.

Some in the ANC are warning of legal challenges and even vote rigging, as a deeply divided party tries to find a new path, and new energy, after 23 years in power, our reporter says.

The leader of the ANC automatically becomes the party's candidate for president of the country.

South Africa's corruption watchdog has found officials misused millions of dollars during Nelson Mandela's funeral four years ago.

According to the report, 300m rand ($22m; £16m) was redirected from a development fund to help with costs.

It had been earmarked for things like "sanitation, the replacement of mud schools and the refurbishment of hospitals," the report stated.

Instead, the authorities allegedly spent it on items like $24 T-shirts.

Allegations of misuse first emerged in 2014, months after Mr Mandela's funeral in Qunu, Eastern Cape, in December 2013, which was attended by heads of state from around the world.

Now, nearly four years after Mr Mandela's death at the age of 95, the country's public protector, Busi Mkhwebane, has asked President Jacob Zuma to pursue the allegations further using the special investigations unit.

The 300-page report describes how officials in the Eastern Cape pocketed funds, ignored basic rules, and inflated costs.

Ms Mkhwebane described the failure to follow regulations on the spending of public money as "very scary" and "appalling", according to South Africa's Mail&Guardian newspaper.

"It is very concerning that we can use a funeral to do such things," she told a press conference. "How do you charge or escalate prices or even send an invoice for something you have not delivered?"

Ms Mkhwebane said disorganisation had a role to play in the misuse, but also hit out at how South Africa's ruling ANC party had apparently issued instructions to officials on how the money should be spent.

"There are invoices we are showing with letterheads from the ANC. And monies were paid but again services were not rendered," she was quoted as saying by South Africa's EyeWitness News.

She added: "We are hopeful whoever has committed these acts will be taken to task."

This is not the first scandal to surround official events commemorating the apartheid struggle hero's life.

The man tasked with providing a sign language interpretation at the memorial service was accused of making up gestures, while a fight for control over Mandela's legacy within his own family mired the last months of his life.

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