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FILE PHOTO: South Africa's President Jacob Zuma looks on as he officially opens the African National Congress 5th National Policy Conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Soweto, South Africa, June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo


JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's anti-graft watchdog wants President Jacob Zuma to comply with a directive by her predecessor and appoint a judge to investigate influence-peddling in his government, Business Day newspaper reported on Thursday, citing court documents.

Then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, a constitutionally mandated anti-corruption watchdog, found in a report in November that a full investigation was needed into allegations that members of the Gupta family, friends of Zuma, wielded undue influence over political appointments and the awarding of government tenders.

The Gupta family and Zuma deny wrongdoing.

Madonsela, who left office the day after her report was released, called for a full judicial inquiry. Zuma has challenged the need to open that probe.

Madonsela's successor Busisiwe Mkhwebane has filed papers with the high court saying Zuma should have complied with her predecessor's report by December and opened a judicial inquiry, Business Day said, citing court papers.

Mkhwebane's spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment. Zuma's spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for a response.

Persistent corruption allegations are piling pressure on Zuma and there are increasing calls for him to stand down from within the ruling African National Congress. Parliament will hold a no-confidence vote on Zuma next month.

South African media in recent weeks has been dominated by stories about how Gupta-controlled companies do business with state-run and international firms after more than 100,000 internal emails and documents were leaked.

International companies are being drawn into the scandal.

German technology company, SAP, told Reuters on Wednesday it had placed four senior managers in South Africa on leave and opened an investigation after it was accused of taking kickbacks from a Gupta-owned company.

SAP has denied any wrongdoing.

London-based public relations firm Bell Pottinger apologised last week and said it had fired a partner in charge of a South African PR campaign for a Gupta-owned company that the political opposition said inflamed racial tensions.

(Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by Joe Brock and Alison Williams)

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