Commission may only investigate Zuptas, says Madonsela

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela says Deputy Chief Justice Ray Zondo’s commission of inquiry may only focus on state capture allegedly committed by the Zuma and Gupta families.

Madonsela spoke to News24 after President Jacob Zuma’s announcement of the establishment of the Zondo Commission on Tuesday evening.

“I welcome the president’s announcement. It is two years too late, if you look at when the first whistle-blowing happened, and more than a year after I had asked him to establish a commission. But better late than never,” Madonsela said.

Madonsela says although evidence may have been compromised, the situation “can still be salvaged”.

Zondo will be able to appoint his own staff to the commission, who will have powers of investigation no less than those of the public protector.

Madonsela says she was encouraged by Zuma’s reference to parts of her investigation that she was unable to finalise due to a lack of resources

In his announcement, Zuma said: “I am also mindful of the concerns raised by the public protector in her report, wherein she lamented the lack of resources to conduct a wider inquiry into this matter.

“Accordingly, by making more resources available, it is my sincere hope that the commission will be able to reach many of those areas of concern that may not have been reached by the public protector’s investigation, but form part of what she might have investigated, had she had sufficient resources to do so.”

Madonsela says her understanding is quite clear about what the terms of reference of the commission should be. “What has to be investigated is what my (probe) was investigating. There is no room to expand the commission to include what was never investigated.

Asked whether this meant Zondo was not able to include allegations of state capture prior to 1994 in his investigation, Madonsela responded in the affirmative.

“There is nothing under the sun stopping president Zuma or any president from initiating twenty judicial inquiries into state capture by white monopoly capital. But this one is specifically about the Gupta family, the president and his son.”

At the beginning of her report, Madonsela’s investigation was summarised as follows: “This report relates to an investigation into complaints of alleged improper and unethical conduct by the president and other state functionaries relating to alleged improper relationships and involvement of the Gupta family in the removal and appointment of ministers and directors of State Owned Entities (SOEs) resulting in improper and possibly corrupt award of state contracts and benefits to the Gupta family’s businesses.”

Madonsela emphasised that her investigation “did not take away his (Zuma’s) powers to establish inquiries at his discretion”. But if more cases are added to the Zondo Commission, it will not be able to conclude its work “in a timely manner”. – News24

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