Protector seeks funds to probe Zuma's ties to Guptas

2016-03-22 13:49
Thuli Madonsela (Lerato Maduna, Netwerk24)

Thuli Madonsela (Lerato Maduna, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is to approach Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for additional funding in order to investigate President Jacob Zuma's links to the Gupta family, Netwerk24 reported on Tuesday.

This is the second time Zuma has come under the protector's spotlight, after the DA lodged a complaint last week relating to Zuma allegedly violating the Executive Ethics Act.

The Dominican Order of Catholic priests last week asked her office to investigate the alleged involvement of the Gupta family in ministerial appointments.

- Read more: Catholic priests ask Madonsela to investigate Guptas

The Order requested an investigation into whether the Guptas offered Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and former MP Vytjie Mentor Cabinet positions in exchange for favourable executive decisions, and whether they were aware of Des van Rooyen's brief appointment as finance minister before it was made public.

The DA asked Madonsela to probe whether Zuma has used his influence to benefit the Gupta family; has exposed himself to a conflict of interest; used information at his disposal to enrich himself or others; and had caused damage to the integrity of his office or government.

Allegations from former GCIS head Themba Maseko that Zuma called him to ask him to "help" the Gupta family, may also be investigated.

Obliged to investigate

Madonsela told Netwerk24 she had received two official complaints about Zuma and the Gupta family, and has received "many complaints" on social media.

She said her office was obliged to investigate when a complaint is submitted under the Executive Ethics Act.

"We will therefore unfortunately have to investigate it."

Madonsela said the investigation will be "long and difficult" and she would need a lot of money for forensic investigators.

"The reality is that my office does not have enough money," she told Netwerk24.

Her office's budget model is problematic, and other countries with similar public protector offices get a regular budget as well as a project budget.

- Read more: Give public protector more money - EFF

Madonsela said they will ask the Treasury for a special fund for special investigations. "This will enable us to appoint an external team forensic investigators and be able to complete the investigation faster."

The extra funding will also assist in the 260 outstanding investigations her office is dealing with.

Madonsela's term ends in October and cannot be extended, so she may not be in office when the investigation into the Guptas is complete, she said.

Meanwhile, the DA on Tuesday called on Gordhan to accede to the request made by Madonsela, for adequate funding of the investigation into the “state capture” by the Gupta family.

"It is imperative that the public protector’s investigation, called for by the DA after numerous revelations over the last few days linking members of the Gupta family to political influence, is carried out impartially and is properly funded," the DA said.

Read more on:    public protector  |  da  |  anc  |  jacob zuma  |  gupta family  |  thuli madonsela

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