Public Protector to file response to Zuma State of Capture review 'soon'

2017-03-30 16:51
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Netwerk24)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – The Public Protector's office will file its affidavit on President Jacob Zuma's application to review and set aside the State of Capture report by the end of the month, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has said.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting in Parliament on Thursday, the Public Protector remained mum on whether her office would oppose Zuma's application which was made in the Pretoria High Court in December.

"Before the end of the month we will be launching our responding affidavit," she said.

Her office had been waiting for legal opinion on the matter, she said, which included guaranteeing confidentiality on certain aspects.

"Now we have that guarantee and we will be submitting the affidavit soon."

Zuma has asked the High Court in Pretoria to review and set aside the remedial action recommendations in the report.

'Limited capacity'

The president also wants the court to refer the report back to the Public Protector for further investigation.

She said the affidavit will also detail what challenges the office faced.

"Remember, if the court considers setting aside the findings, then we will have to find a way of going ahead and doing the investigation with the limited capacity we have," she said.

The office was at an advanced stage of finalising the response to the court, Mkhwebane said.

"It might have some elements of counter applications on some elements."

The counter applications, she explained, might include checking whether or not the Public Protector's office would have the necessary resources to investigate, should the matter be brought back to the office.

She would not be drawn on whether the affidavit would be in support of the president's petition.

"Let's wait for the affidavit, remember it will be a public document, along with the legal document on the legal opinion".

Sassa investigation

Mkhwebane also touched on the Public Protector's recently-launched investigation into the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) debacle and the payment of social grants, which have been in the spotlight for months.

She said the investigation was still in the preliminary stages.

"It's still very early. We have written to the minister of social development and the minister of treasury and their DGs. Treasury has responded, they gave us their side of the story," she said.

The main focus was to ensure that whoever pays the grants, it is done legally.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini's office had also responded, indicating at the time that the department was waiting for court processes to conclude, Mkhwebane said.

Since that has passed, her office will now be following up with the department, Mkhwebane said.

"Basically we are investigating why the delay in implementing the Constitutional Court findings."

The Democratic Alliance, she said, had asked the office to investigate the relationship between Dlamini and grants distributor Cash Paymaster Services.

"So it's still at very early stages."

The Public Protector would be using the court judgment to guide the probe, she said.

Read more on:    busisiwe mkhwebane  |  sassa

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