#News24Thuli: 'Zuma would have had his answers by now'

2016-10-12 06:04
Thuli Madonsela speaks to News24 (Screengrab from YouTube)

Thuli Madonsela speaks to News24 (Screengrab from YouTube)

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LIVE: News24 Frontline in conversation with Thuli Madonsela

2016-10-11 18:59

News24's editor-in-chief, Adriaan Basson and head of video, Jerusha Sukhdeo-Raath speak to the outgoing Public Protector. Watch.WATCH

Johannesburg - The Public Protector's office would have helped President Jacob Zuma get the answers he has said he needs from witnesses in the state capture probe by now had Thuli Madonsela's office not been kept hanging by the president and his office.

"The president was the first person to be informed about the allegations being made," Madonsela told News24's livestreamed discussion programme Frontline on Tuesday.

She told Zuma in a letter on March 22 about the allegations against him that had been reported to her and that she would be investigating whether or not he had any role in the alleged offer of a post to Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas by the Gupta family.

Zuma would also be investigated regarding claims by former parliamentary committee chairperson Vytjie Mentor that the Guptas offered her the job of minister of public enterprises, with Zuma escorting her out after she turned it down.

Part of the investigation also involves finding out whether Zuma had any role in the alleged pressure put on Themba Maseko to give tenders to the Gupta family and why Cabinet got involved in a private dispute between the Guptas and the banks.

She said following the complaints to her office Zuma faced a probe of state capture and violation of the Executive Ethics Act.


But Zuma told Madonsela that he thought she was investigating his son.

This, said Madonsela, was "inconsistent with the letter we wrote to him" in April.

These issues were only raised at a meeting with Zuma on October 6.

At the meeting Zuma agreed to answer questions put to him by Madonsela, via an affidavit, on the advice of his lawyers.

They agreed that they would meet again on Monday to clarify any details if necessary.

They waited to hear from Zuma's office and at one point were told the legal advisor would collect the questions, but he did not.

"Late on Monday we discovered that the president is not in a position to answer those questions and wants to interview the witnesses."

She says Zuma does have to the right to examine witnesses but the person asking the questions would be the presiding officer at the Public Protector's office and not Zuma's lawyer, as is the case with an accusatorial process.

She said she was not investigating "state capture", but the specific allegations that were made.

'Don't depend on tenders'

She said she had not yet seen a copy of a letter reportedly written to her by the Guptas warning her to back off.

Earlier this year claims emerged that the wealthy industrialists had offered Jonas the position of finance minister over Pravin Gordhan when Nhlanhla Nene was inexplicably removed.
The Guptas have denied it.

Madonsela warned that state capture and corruption need not only be about money.

It could be a coveted position in church, for example.

In the interview Madonsela warned a young aspiring business person in the audience to stay away from government tenders.

"Don't create businesses that depend on state tenders. It's not sustainable," Madonsela said.

"To have sustainable state tenders you have to be corrupt," she said.

"It's a hazard to your own business," said Madonsela, urging the person who asked her for business advice to diversify.

Read more on:    public protector  |  jacob zuma  |  thuli madonsela  |  state capture

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