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South Africa’s outgoing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is consulting lawyers following news that President Jacob Zuma and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen plan to stop a report from her office by seeking court interdicts. The development is unlikely to be well-received by investors, as South Africa hits international headlines over the Gupta brothers’ influence in the highest political circles and allegations of state capture. Van Rooyen – a former mayor and ANC MP – was briefly appointed Finance Minister by Zuma in December in place of Nhlanhla Nene – a move that wiped R500bn off the value of South African assets. This is Madonsela’s last day in office. She has planned a press conference where she intends to release an update on progress into an investigation into allegations that have been swirling around the Gupta involvement in state business and their relationship with the president’s family. Observers think it is unlikely Madonsela will release a full report on state capture before she hands the baton to Busisiwe Mkhwebane – who has already indicated that her priorities are with “grassroots” issues rather than the challenges in the country’s top political circles. However, what is undeniable is that the world is now asking: What is in that report that the South African president doesn’t want everyone to know? – Jackie Cameron
By Jenni Evans
Cape Town – Will Public Protector Thuli Madonsela present her report on state capture when she releases a final batch of reports on Friday as her swansong after a tumultuous seven years in office?
According to her spokesperson Oupa Segalwe, Madonsela is still consulting her lawyers after the shock developments hours before her departure when it emerged that President Jacob Zuma and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen will try and get a court interdict to stop her from releasing the “state capture” report.
“There is no decision as to whether she is going to release it at this stage,” Segalwe said late on Thursday.
Strict entrance requirements to her final press conference in Pretoria include an RSVP by noon on Friday and presentation of an identity document at the security checkpoint.
She will also use the opportunity to provide an update on progress in other investigations that will be handed over to her successor Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Segalwe noted earlier that there was no interdict yet in respect of the Zuma application – just notice of intention to apply for one on Tuesday in the High Court in Pretoria.
A warning from the Guptas
Madonsela is probing whether Zuma had any role in allegations that “his friends”, the Gupta family, had offered Cabinet posts to Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and former MP Vytjie Mentor, as well as allegations that the family pressured former Cabinet spokesperson Themba Maseko to give them government tenders.
Thank you adv Thuli Madonsela for 8 years of service as the best @PublicProtector we have ever had. Please run for president!
— Rebel Mother (@cindos) October 14, 2016
All three have given evidence to Madonsela.
The Guptas themselves have issued a statement warning Madonsela to back off.
Van Rooyen’s application, in which he will challenge the powers of the Public Protector to summons him to answer certain questions, will be heard by the same court on Friday at 10:00. Zuma’s application will be heard on Tuesday.
Zuma appointed Van Rooyen – a former mayor and ANC MP – as finance minister in December last year, in place of Nhlanhla Nene. The move wiped R500bn off the value of South African assets.
After four days Zuma replaced him with Pravin Gordhan.
Jonas is on record as saying that the Gupta family offered him Nene’s job. – News24
Madonsela confirms Van Rooyen interdict bid
By Jenni Evans
Cape Town – Outgoing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has confirmed that Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen intends applying for an interdict to prevent the release of her exit report on the “state capture” investigation.
“Yes, it’s true,” Madonsela said simply when asked to confirm if she knew of Van Rooyen’s intentions.
This follows a notice from President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers that he got the go ahead for a similar application, set down to be heard on Tuesday.
Both will be heard at the High Court in Pretoria with Van Rooyen’s application set down for 10:00 on Friday.
Van Rooyen’s spokesperson Legadima Leso said he had been inundated with calls following the News24 report that the application would take place and was trying to get information from Van Rooyen because he did not know anything about it.
In an interview with News24 on Tuesday Madonsela said she would release a short report on Friday, her last day at work before her successor Busisiwe Mkhwebane takes over.
The latest developments are not the only surprise over the state capture investigation.
Madonsela said in the interview that Zuma claimed she was referring to his son when she was seeking information from him, but this goes against the content of a letter she sent him during her probe.
Last week her office stated that Zuma asked her to defer the investigation to the incoming protector who he had just formally announced.
It was agreed at that meeting that Zuma would answer a list of questions put to him and come back to her with the answers. Instead, he asked that he be allowed to question the witnesses.
Madonsela explained that this is allowed but interviews would be conducted by a Public Protector office official and not Zuma’s lawyers.
The next step was Zuma’s application for the interdict.
Earlier News24 editor Adriaan Basson reported that it now seems unlikely that Madonsela will release her report before she leaves office.
Challenging Madonsela’s powers
She also explained on Tuesday that she is not investigating state capture, but allegations in a complaint her office received that wealthy industrialists the Guptas had benefited from proximity to certain high-ranking officials and may have had a hand in their appointment as Cabinet ministers. Also part of her investigation is whether the Executive Members Ethics Act had been violated.
Van Rooyen’s application will challenge the powers of the Public Protector to summons him to answer certain questions.
Van Rooyen – a former mayor and ANC MP – was appointed Finance Minister by Zuma in December last year in place of Nhlanhla Nene – a move that wiped R500bn off the value of South African assets.
He lasted four days in the job, earning the nickname “Weekend Special” before he was replaced by Pravin Gordhan.
Gordhan in turn was served a summons on Tuesday to appear in court on November 2 to be charged with fraud relating to payment of an early pension to former deputy SA Revenue Service commissioner Ivan Pillay. Former SARS commissioner Oupa Magashula and Pillay will appear in court with Gordhan.
Martin Madlala, spokesperson for Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, said that to his knowledge Zwane did not intend following suit. He has been accused of supporting the Guptas at a business meeting in Switzerland. – News24
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