Madonsela refers #StateofCapture questions to successor

2016-11-04 15:46
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Cape Town – Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Friday referred all questions about her controversial "state capture" report as well as claims made against her by Eskom CEO Brian Molefe to the current Public Protector's office.

"The new PP has issued a statement indicating she prefers to answer all these questions. Kindly approach her," Madonsela said in reply to a request for comment on Molefe's claims that she did not give him a chance to give his side of the story.

Molefe initially made this claim, becoming emotional, during a briefing of Eskom's interim results on Thursday.

He became tearful over cellphone tower data detailed in Madonsela's report, released on Wednesday, which found he was in the vicinity of the Gupta family's estate in Saxonwold on key dates around the negotiating and conclusion of a key coal deal, with a company owned primarily by the Guptas and President Jacob Zuma's son, Duduzane.

But while addressing reporters on Thursday, Molefe said Madonsela had not given him a chance to respond to this.

Madonsela was then quoted in BusinessLive on Friday as saying Molefe's claims were "not true" and the only truth was that the meeting was postponed "but not by me as I was also sitting in my office waiting for Eskom".

No opportunity to 'explain'

But on Friday Molefe stuck to his guns at another press conference.

"She never raised it with me," he said.

"We never had a meeting and there is not a single document in which she asked me the question. I never had an opportunity to explain myself."

Madonsela on Friday declined to comment, referring queries to current Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

On Thursday, Mkhwebane's office said the report was the "property" of the Public Protector's office as an institution, and if the media needed information, the office had the institutional memory to handle the queries.

"I took over the office with all its successes and failures," Mkhwebane said.

During the Eskom press briefing on Thursday, Molefe bizarrely referred to a shebeen. The statement became the subject of social media ridicule, inspiring the hashtag #SaxonwoldShebeen.

'Good friends'

"My cellphone reflects that I was in Saxonwold 14 times, close to the herd of proverbial goats. My cellphone reflects I was in the area," he said.

"There's a shebeen there. Two streets away from the Guptas. I will not admit or deny that I've gone to the shebeen. But there is a shebeen there."

As part of Madonsela's investigation, Molefe's possible role in the deal as member of the Eskom Holdings Limited Board was probed.

The report did not find any direct involvement by him in the deal and the only direct quote from Molefe in the report is him saying he and the Guptas are "good friends".

Molefe was seconded to Eskom on April 20 last year as an acting group chief executive. He became group chief executive on September 25 last year.

The report found that between the period August 2 last year and March 22 this year, Molefe called Ajay Gupta a total of 44 times, while Ajay Gupta called Molefe 14 times.

News24 has requested from the Public Protector a transcript of the interview with Molefe, or a copy of his responses to questions put to him for the purposes of the report.

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