S/Africa: Ex-Ombudsman insists on probing Zuma, Guptas
South Africaâs former Public Protector (Ombudsman) Thuli Madonsela on Thursday advised her successor, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, that an extension of the Ray Zondo Commissionâs brief will not do justice to her State of Capture report which highlighted the need to probe President Jacob Zuma and his family friends, the Gupta Brothers.âAnything else (than alleged state capture committed by President Jacob Zuma, his family and the Guptas) would not only be in defiance of the court order, but derail and delay the investigation,â Madonsela told the press in response to Mkhwebaneâs statement released on Wednesday in which she said the probe should be expanded.
Mkhwebane, a former State Security Agency (SSA) employee, offered Zuma her assistance in developing the terms of reference for Deputy Chief Justice Ray Zondoâs inquiry into state capture, adding that it should not be limited to the issues investigated or identified by Madonselaâs probe.
Madonselaâs investigation was triggered by numerous complaints about reports that the Zumas and the Guptas have conspired to capture state-owned enterprises for their personal benefit.
Zuma unsuccessfully challenged Madonselaâs report in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria last month.
The court agreed with Madonsela that a judicial commission of inquiry should continue the probe she had started into the Zumas and the Guptas.
But Mkhwebane, like many of Zumaâs supporters, has argued for a much wider investigation into state capture.
âIn order to ensure that no stone is left unturned in so far as the allegations of state capture are concerned, and in order to avoid any further allegations of state capture being lodged with the Office of the Public Protector, the Public Protector calls upon the president of South Africa to ensure that the terms of reference for the Commission of Inqui ry are not limited to the issues investigated or identified in the State of Capture report,â Mkhwebane said in her Wednesday statement.
Mkhwebane has called on Zuma to ensure that Zondo has the power to âexpand the issues to be investigated, should any relevant evidence of state capture be brought to him during the inquiryâ, an approach Madonsela differs from vehemently.
âAny state capture allegation not identified in the report (State of Capture) cannot be part of the investigation, unless they are incidental to the main allegations. Should the commission come across state capture allegations that are not incidental to the main allegations or matters identified for investigation in the report, those will be scope creep,â Madonsela said.
She added: âThe Deputy Chief Justice (Ray Zondo) may identify and refer same to the president o r any relevant institution.â
Zuma is yet to release the terms of reference for the Zondo Commission, that involves him, his family and the Guptas.
On Tuesday evening, a few hours before the ANCâs new national executive committee was due to discuss his possible recall, Zuma announced the establishment of the Zondo Commission.
He allowed Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to choose the judge to head up the commission and said he would continue to appeal some aspects of the courtâs judgment.
Zumaâs surprise announcement was widely interpreted to have saved him from being recalled (removed from power) this week.Source: Google News