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Report finds uphill fight against graft in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa is fighting a losing battle against corruption, which sucked up nearly $111 million in taxpayers’ money last year, according to a new report that contradicts government statements that efforts to stamp out financial misconduct are going well.

‘‘Corruption is rampant,’’ the author of the report, financial forensics expert Peter Allwright, said Friday. ‘‘It’s out of control . . . and the dedicated units that have been created to fight financial misconduct are in essence fighting a losing battle.”

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South Africa is awash in scandals about misuse of government money and power — in one of the latest, taxpayers forked out around nearly $28 million on upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s private residence.

The gulf between the fabulously wealthy and the impoverished is growing ever wider in the country with the continent’s largest economy, fueling ever more violent service protests as the governing African National Congress party gears up for elections next year.

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