State capture report safely stored in Parliament until Monday

2016-10-15 13:00
National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete (Parliament TV)

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete (Parliament TV)

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Cape Town - Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report on state capture is safely under lock and key in Parliament, ready to be given to her successor on Monday.

"The report was indeed received on Friday. The report is being kept by Parliament," said secretary to the National Assembly Masibulele Xaso.

The new Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane assumed office from Saturday, and the report will be given to her on Monday, her first workday in the hot seat.

He explained that ordinarily when Parliament receives reports from public institutions, they are tabled and forwarded to the relevant structures. The Speaker was asked to look after it for Madonsela on Friday.

"And the Speaker is doing exactly that. It is kept safe at the moment. Nobody has access to it," said Xaso.

Preventing a leak

In the meantime, the African National Congress caucus in Parliament issued a statement saying it had met Speaker Baleka Mbete to discuss her apparent refusal to look after it.

The ANC chief whip's office spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said the party was disappointed by the statement containing an outright refusal to look after it.

The ANC was burned before over its rejection of a Public Protector report recommending that some of the R249 million spent on President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home was for his own account. The Constitutional Court lambasted Mbete for the way it was handled in Parliament.

The report might contain findings and recommendations relating to Zuma after the Catholic Church's Dominican Order asked Madonsela to probe claims that the Gupta family had some ANC Cabinet members in their pocket, with the knowledge of Zuma.

Her expected release of a report on her investigation was put on ice until at least 2 November. That is when a court will hear an application to court to stop its release.

Cooperative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen brought the application for an interdict on Friday citing not enough time to prepare responses to Madonsela's questions.

Zuma's similar application will be joined with his. In the meantime Madonsela said she would not release it because it was good practice not to do so.

Mbete is the chairperson of the majority ANC and Zuma is its president.

Safe storage could prevent a leak of the findings while Zuma attends the 8th BRICS summit in India.

ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu said the Speaker distanced herself from the media statement turning down Madonsela's request, saying it would be returned.

Said Xaso: "The Speaker did not refuse, or reject it. The return of the report will be on Monday."

The Democratic Alliance's Chief Whip John Steenhuisen claimed the ANC's "backtrack" was "a desperate attempt to save Mbete from an unlawful decision".

"The fact that the ANC have now, through a party statement, distanced the Speaker from Parliament’s official communication, demonstrates its desperation to clean up the mess she has created. The public should not be fooled," he said.

"That was a statement issued in the name of the Speaker, and one finds it hard to believe it was issued without her knowledge and consideration."

Steenhuisen said the DA would on Sunday announce further steps to ensure the report was made public.

"We will not allow for the ANC to once again frustrate the functioning of the Public Protector’s office in a bid to protect Jacob Zuma from answering for his conduct."

Read more on:    anc  |  thuli madon­sela  |  jacob zuma  |  baleka mbete  |  des van rooyen  |  cape town  |  state capture  |  state capture report

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