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Zuma wants ‘state capture’ probe deferred, says Thuli Madonsela

President Jacob Zuma wants the investigation into allegations of state capture deferred to incoming Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, says outgoing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

In a statement following her meeting with Zuma on Thursday, she said Zuma and his legal team spent the bulk of their four-hour meeting arguing that it be deferred to Mkhwebane on the grounds that there “wasn’t enough time to conclude the matter properly and that there was no reason for the investigation to be prioritised”.

Madonsela said that while the meeting was “cordial”, she was also told that Zuma had not had time to prepare answers with legal advice, given the investigation timelines.

She said this was despite the acknowledgment that she had advised him in writing on March 22 about the allegations against him as well as his suspected breach of the Executive Ethics Code.

“After lengthy deliberations and taking into account that the case is a part-heard matter, it was agreed that the president would be given a set of questions, answer some through an affidavit and meet again with the public protector to provide answers on matters needing clarity,” the statement said.

Madonsela’s interview with Zuma forms part of her investigation into the alleged involvement of the Gupta family in the appointment of Cabinet ministers and board members of state-owned enterprises.

Madonsela is also probing the “influence by the Gupta family on improper and possibly corrupt influence in the awarding of state contracts and licences to companies linked to the family”.

Madonsela leaves office this month. Zuma appointed Mkhwebane as the new public protector for a seven-year term effective from October 15.

The presidency was yet to respond to the statement. — News24

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