State Capture report, judgment are starting point for commission - Public Protector

2018-01-18 16:59
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (File, Netwerk24)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (File, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Thursday announced that the failure to properly resource her office would have a knock-on effect on investigations into state capture.

She said Parliament did not properly resource her office, despite the important role it played in the country.

"In the current financial year, despite the fact that I have requested and motivated for a budget of at least R1 billion, the National Treasury has cut this institution’s budget by R8 million," she said in a statement.

"As a result of the above and considering the nature of the issues to be traversed and available resources, my [office] will not be able to properly investigate all the allegations of state capture, as reported after the publication of the state capture report."

President Jacob Zuma had been given 30 days from December 13 in which to establish a Commission of Inquiry into state capture, after the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria rejected his bid to have former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's recommendations set aside.

Zuma finally announced the establishment of the long-awaited commission last week, saying "the matter cannot wait any longer".

Mkhwebane had recently asked for the terms of reference to be expanded and that they not be limited to the issues in the initial report.

She said the state capture report dealt with the alleged breach of the Executive Member Ethics Act and awarding of contracts by certain organs of state to entities linked to the Gupta family, based on complaints received at the time.

Related issues, which the report reserved for the next phase, were, among others, whether any state functionary "acted unlawfully, improperly or corruptly in connection with [the] exchange of gifts in relation to Gupta-linked companies or persons", a Sunday Times report in May 2016 recorded. It gave details of a Transnet board decision to give the green light for the cession of major advisory contracts from Regiments Capital to Trillian Capital Partners, and allegations that SAA had spent R9.4m on buying about 6 million copies of the New Age.

Mkhwebane said that following the release of the report, several additional complaints alleging state capture were received.

She proposed that the #Guptaleaks emails and related articles form part of the commission's terms of reference.

The report and its review judgement did not limit the issues to be investigated, but provided a starting point for the commission, Mkhwebane said.

She denied reports that she said there was a need for historical investigation dating back to 1994.

"Save to say that I was merely looking at all matters that have been expressly reserved for investigation in the next phase and the new allegations of state capture, as lodged with my office. All these allegations are related to the issues identified for investigation in the State of Capture report."

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