Extending state capture probe would derail it, Madonsela warns

2018-01-11 17:24

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela advised her successor, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, that an extension of the Zondo Commission’s brief will amount to “scope creep”. The inquiry into state capture was meant to focus on President Jacob Zuma, his family and the Guptas. “Anything else would not only be in defiance of the court order, but derail and delay the investigation,” Madonsela said in response to Mkhwebane’s statement released on Wednesday.

Mkhwebane, a former State Security Agency employee, offered Zuma her assistance in developing the terms of reference for Deputy Chief Justice Ray Zondo’s inquiry into state capture, adding that it should not be limited to the issues investigated or identified by Madonsela’s probe.

Madonsela’s investigation was triggered by numerous complaints about reports that the Zumas and the Guptas had conspired to capture state-owned enterprises for their personal benefit.

Zuma unsuccessfully challenged Madonsela’s report in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria last month. The court agreed with Madonsela that a judicial commission of inquiry should continue the probe she had started into the Zumas and the Guptas.

But Mkhwebane, like many of Zuma’s supporters, has argued for a much wider investigation.

“In order to ensure that no stone is left unturned in so far as the allegations of state capture are concerned, and in order to avoid any further allegations of state capture being lodged with the Office of the Public Protector, the Public Protector calls upon the president of RSA to ensure that the terms of reference for the Commission of Inquiry are not limited to the issues investigated or identified in the State of Capture report,” Mkhwebane said in her statement.

It is a matter of public record that Black First Land First leader Andile Mngxitama has complained to Mkhwebane about “white corruption, including white state capture”. Mkhwebane has called on Zuma to ensure that Zondo had the power to “expand the issues to be investigated, should any relevant evidence of state capture be brought to him during the inquiry”, an approach Madonsela differs from vehemently.

“Any state capture allegation not identified in the report (State of Capture) cannot be part of the investigation, unless they are incidental to the main allegations. Should the commission come across state capture allegations that are not incidental to the main allegations or matters identified for investigation in the report, those will be scope creep,” Madonsela said.

“The deputy chief justice may identify and refer same to the president or any relevant institution.”

Zuma is yet to release the terms of reference for the Zondo Commission, that involves him and his family intimately.

Zuma announced the establishment of the Zondo Commission on Tuesday evening, a few hours before the ANC’s new national executive committee was due to discuss his possible recall.

He allowed Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to choose the judge to head up the commission and said he would continue to appeal some aspects of the court’s judgment. Zuma’s surprise announcement was widely interpreted to have saved him from being recalled this week. – News24

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March 18 2018