Public Protector Busisiwe’s mettle to be tested with new #GuptaLeaks probe

#GuptaLeaks. More of Zapiro’s magic available on his website

CAPE TOWN — I don’t think I’m particularly unique in thinking the Public Protector’s probe into the merits of some of the allegations in the GuptaLeaks scandal will be the first real test of her mettle, following her very public fallout with her now nationally-famous predecessor. What got my autonomous, non-captured train of thought going along this line is the new Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s defensive-sounding caveat that most of the leaks already form part of her predecessor, Thuli Madonsela’s State Capture report. She then goes on to outline a long list of exceptions. They’re detailed in the story below, all very serious, and if found true and added to the as-yet untested State Capture report findings, should (could would be too ambitious a word), topple the Zuptoid-led government. But Msholozi, that political chess-master and fearless Zuptoid leader of a disaffected nation, already has an effective brake on Madonsela’s report, having filed a review application on her recommendations in the High Court, now only due for hearing in October. The saga continues. Who’ll write the ending, is anybody’s guess. – Chris Bateman

From News24

Cape Town – The Public Protector will conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the merits of some of the allegations that have been published as part of the #GuptaLeaks saga that point to issues at Eskom, Prasa and Transnet.

These allegations point to improper or dishonest acts or offences with respect to public funds at the state-owned enterprises as well as well as improper or unlawful enrichment by certain public officials at these institutions, the office of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said in a statement on Wednesday night.

President Jacob Zuma receives a courtesy call from the Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane at his Mahlamba Ndlopfu residence, in Pretoria. It was their first meeting since her appointment.

Aside from the #GuptaLeaks, the investigation will also look at the controversial re-appointment of Brian Molefe as head of Eskom.

Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s initial state capture report about alleged improper and unethical conduct by President Jacob Zuma and other state functionaries relating to the Gupta family was released last year.

A review application by Zuma on the recommendations of that report is expected to be heard in October.

Catch up on what we know so far on #GuptaLeaks here.

Mkhwebane said most of the issues form part of the State of Capture Report, except allegations that:

– The Guptas received high-level confidential information from the then Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi;

– At least two immigration officials (Gideon Christians and Ms Munyadziwa) were specially positioned in India by then Minister of Home Affairs, to assist Gupta associate Ashu Chawla to the benefit of Gupta-owned businesses, liaising through Major Kobese, a music producer and director in the foreign office of the Department of Home Affairs.

Regarding Eskom, there will be an investigation into:

The allegations that former Passenger Rail Agency of SA chairperson, Sifiso Buthelezi, failed to disclose a conflict of interest arising from his interest in Makana, a subsidiary of Cadiz which provided advisory services to Prasa on its rolling stock programme, would be included in a second investigation into Prasa, which is currently underway.

The protector’s office has already published a report titled Derailed into allegations of maladministration at Prasa and this is being taken on review by former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana.

Regarding Transnet, the preliminary probe will look into:

  • Allegations of a kickback agreement totalling R5.3bn, regarding the procurement of locomotive at Transnet;
  • The role of then Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba in the appointment of Iqbal Shama and Molefe to Transnet board of directors, chair of the board acquisition and disposal committee, and senior management respectively;
  • Role players in the procurement process for freight locomotives in July 2012;
  • Allegations of Brown’s failure to exercise the required executive oversight over Transnet, its board and management.

Brown’s spokesperson Colin Cruywagen said the minister welcomed the latest probe.

”She will co-operate with the Public Protector, as she will co-operate with any institution that is investigating allegations of state capture.”

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