#StateCaptureWrap: Zuma state capture scrutiny to intensify

2016-11-02 22:01
Thuli Madonsela (Nelius Rademan, Netwerk24)

Thuli Madonsela (Nelius Rademan, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma will be under intense scrutiny over the next six months, despite not being directly implicated in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s state capture probe.

She instead recommended that he establish a commission of inquiry within 30 days to probe the issues she highlighted.

Ironically, the commission would have to hand its report to Zuma himself within six months.

He would then have to indicate to Parliament his view regarding its implementation.

After that, the public protector would notify the National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks on crimes that may have been committed.

On Wednesday afternoon, after much delay and court dramas, Madonsela’s 355-page “State of Capture” report was released.

- Download the full report here

Instead of making outright findings against Zuma, Madonsela made only observations and focused mainly on the key players around Zuma, rather than the man himself.

However, Madonsela stated upfront that her office had been incapable of conducting a full investigation with the R1.5 million Treasury had allocated.

Throughout the report she uses cautionary terms including “if”, “may”, “might have” and “it would appear” in her observations of legal violations Zuma may have committed through his links to the Gupta family.

Atul Gupta, President Jacob Zuma and the First Lady MaNtuli Zuma at the Wanderers Stadium for a  T20 match between South Africa and India in March 2012. (GCIS)

Madonsela directed Parliament to review the Executive Members’ Ethics Act within six months.  Parliament should provide better guidance regarding integrity, including avoidance and management of conflicts of interest.

“This should clearly define responsibilities of those in authority regarding a proper response to whistleblowing and whistle-blowers,” she said.

Consideration should also be given to a code of conduct for all government employees.

Zuma had to ensure the Executive Ethics Code was updated, in line with the review of this act.

Madonsela said she first advised Zuma in writing about her investigation, between March and April.

Interviews were conducted with whistle-blowers, Deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas and former ANC MP Vytie Mentor.

A closer look

Madonsela looked into allegations, including whether Zuma improperly allowed members of the Gupta family to get involved in removing and appointing Cabinet members, as Mentor had alleged.

She said she found no evidence that government took action to verify Mentor’s allegations.

She probed whether Zuma had allowed the Guptas to be involved in making appointments to the boards of state-owned enterprises. She did not directly implicate Zuma in this.

Instead, Madonsela found former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan’s allegations “deserve a closer look”.

Madonsela investigated if Zuma and any other Cabinet ministers “improperly interfered in the relationship between banks and Gupta-owned companies” or gave preferential treatment to those companies.

“Cabinet appears to have taken an extraordinary and unprecedented step regarding intervention into what appears to be a dispute between a private company co-owned by the President’s friends and his son,” she said.

But again, Madonsela did not directly point a finger at Zuma.

“This needs to be looked at in relation to a possible conflict of interest between the President as head of state and his private interest as a friend and father,” she said.

Madonsela directed that her successor Busisiwe Mkhwebane monitor the implementation of any remedial action she suggested.

The secretary of Parliament and the DG in the presidency were asked to provide periodic implementation reports to the public protector’s office.

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

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