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There is a basic tenet in South African law that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. However, while the courts haven’t found any ministers guilty of enriching themselves by taking control of state entities, attempts by senior politicians to stop the release of a report into state capture throw up one question: why? First President Jacob Zuma took steps to delay the release of a preliminary investigation by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Next, ‘weekend special’ finance minister Des van Rooyen – who allegedly visited the controversial Gupta family daily before suddenly being appointed Finance Minister in December in a move that shocked the rand – made noises that he would muzzle Madonsela. Now Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has indicated that he too would like to prevent details entering the public domain. You might recall that Zwane released a statement announcing cabinet recommendations for a judicial inquiry into banks. At the time, news of the investigation threatened to spark a financial crisis. The cabinet subsequently claimed that Zwane had acted beyond his powers, but Zwane kept his job. With three senior politicians keen to stop the details of the Public Protector’s investigation being made public, it seems likely on a balance of probabilities that there’s a wealth of potentially incriminating information contained in the document. Apart from “why”, the question on everyone’s lips is: who’s next? Are there other ministers named in that report? – Jackie Cameron
By Tshidi Madia, News24
The matter is due to be heard on November 1, after it was postponed in the High Court in Pretoria in October.
He has since indicated that he would seek a postponement when he goes to court on Tuesday.
Zwane joined Co-operative Governance Minister Des Van Rooyen, who initially sought to oppose the release of the report in October, then withdrew his application, only to reinstate it over the weekend.
Zwane said he had no choice but to enter the fray.
“The Public Protector cannot confirm or deny if the report, which is now alleged to be in final form, makes any adverse findings against the Minister,” his department said in a statement.
“It is the minister’s submission that the report was hastily prepared without due regard to his constitutional rights.”
Van Rooyen launched his application because he felt he had not been given sufficient time to respond to the preliminary report.
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