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South Africa’s Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has got grit, determination and, above all, bravery. She has promised a parting gift before she leaves office soon: a report on the controversial Gupta family – the rich Indian brothers whose names pop up regularly amid the stench of state capture and financial irregularity. Madonsela is the woman who lifted the lid on the details of how President Jacob Zuma had allowed more than R200m in taxpayers’ money to be spent on refurbishing his homestead, Nkandla. The Gupta brothers – Ajay, Atul and Rajesh (Tony) – are believed to wield enormous influence on Zuma. There is a big question mark over the source of their wealth, as they arrived in South Africa as relatively small business players. Madonsela says she might not have all the Ts crossed and the Is dotted by the time she has to step down, but she will have a report available on what her investigations so far have indicated about the involvement of the Gupta family in state business. The Guptas and Nazeem Howa, CEO of Oakbay Investments, have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing by the family, so the news that Madonsela will clear up some of the discrepancies will presumably come as a relief to them – and Zuma’s family. In the meantime, others who are convinced that the rot runs deep will be pinning their hopes on the possibility that action against Zuma will follow the report, including Zuma’s departure as president, so that finally South Africans can get on with building the economy for the national good. – Jackie Cameron
By Lizeka Tandwa
Johannesburg – A report on the Gupta family will be ready before outgoing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela finishes her term, she said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the Rhema Bible Church’s Truth Be Told conference, Madonsela told journalists that while she could not guarantee a comprehensive one she would have some sort of report available before she leaves her office.
“We are doing our best to complete all investigations that are in our hands. We are not 100% sure if they will be complete but we will have a report,” she said.
Madonsela was speaking at the conference on gender-based violence.
She said while she believed dialogues on gender-based violence were necessary, 20 years into the implementation of the Constitution the country should be doing better on the matter.
Madonsela urged attendees to ask government to implement chapter 5 of the Equality Act which spoke against abuse and gender violence.
Earlier this year Madonsela was asked by the Catholic Dominican Order to investigate whether Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and former MP Vytjie Mentor were offered Cabinet positions by the Guptas, whether the appointment of local government Minister Des Van Rooyen as finance minister was known beforehand by the Gupta family and whether two senior advisers with links to the Gupta family were appointed to the National Treasury alongside Van Rooyen without following proper procedure.
Breaches of executive ethics
They also asked Madonsela to investigate allegations of state capture by the Guptas and all Gupta family business dealings with the state to establish if there had been any corruption or improper conduct.
“The specific request is to look into tenders or state contracts, mining licences and advertisements on the New Age newspaper,” said Madonsela’s spokesperson Oupa Segalwe at the time.
The Public Protector was further approached on the basis of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act by the DA in Parliament to look into suspected breaches of the executive ethics code by President Jacob Zuma in relation to Cabinet appointments.
This was in reference to claims by Jonas and Mentor that they were offered executive positions by members of the Gupta family in exchange for favourable executive decisions and beneficial business interests.
The Guptas have been accused of using their position as close friends of Zuma to influence Cabinet decisions that would allow them to score government tenders.
The Guptas and their company Oakbay Investments have denied the allegations countless times. However, South Africa’s top banks – as well as their auditors KPMG and JSE sponsor Sasfin – cut ties with business units linked to the Guptas in April this year without citing specific reasons.
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