Public protector needs another R3-million for Gupta investigation
Public protector Thuli Madonsela on Tuesday repeated her call for additional funding for a probe into state capture, with her office saying she has asked the finance ministry for R3-million for the investigation but was still waiting for a decision.
“She has said that she would need at least another R3-million,” said Oupa Segalwe, the spokesperson for Madonsela’s office.
He said apart from the fact that it was well-known that the public protector’s office was under-funded and under-staffed, the nature of the complaint and the complexity of the case made a separate budget allocation necessary.
Segalwe said the Democratic Alliance (DA) had requested that Madonsela investigate ‘state capture’, as well as whether President Jacob Zuma had breached the Executive Ethics Code in this regard. The public protector also received a complaint from the Dominican order however, which asked her to probe all government contracts, as well as mining licences, awarded to companies linked to the Gupta family.
The two complaints were brought after Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said in March that the controversial Gupta family offered him the position of finance minister last year. Zuma fired then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene shortly following this secret offer, causing upheaval in South Africa’s financial markets.
“Because of the magnitude of the probe, she would have to insource expertise,” Segalwe said.
He was speaking after Madonsela told reporters in Johannesburg that she had asked government for additional funding for the investigation and was waiting for a response.
Madonsela added: “If we do get those resources it would be much better to have this investigation expedited.”
Segalwe said as the chapter 9 institution was still waiting for an answer from government, “to say that the investigation is in full swing would not be accurate”.
So far the public protector has verified that the investigation fell within its jurisdiction and taken the usual step of formally informing interested parties of the complaint.
Segalwe confirmed that Madonsela had written to Zuma in this regard.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said he wrote to Justice Minister Michael Masutha on Tuesday to ask that he take it upon himself to allocate additional funding to Madonsela to allow her to continue with the investigation.
“The minister of justice ought to reprioritise his current budget in order to make such funds available,” Maimane said. – African News Agency (Edited by Michelle Solomon).