Outgoing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said President Jacob Zuma wants advocate Mkhwebane Busisiwe to handle the investigation on the alleged state capture by the Gupta family.
Advocate Thuli stated this following her meeting with the the president over the matter which she described as cordial though “the president’s legal representative argued that the investigation be deferred to the incoming public protector.
BuzzSouthAfrica gathered that Zuma refused to answer Thuli’s questions on the alleged state capture on the ground that there “wasn’t enough time to conclude the matter properly and that there was no reason for the investigation to be prioritized”.
She said this was despite the acknowledgment that she had advised him in writing on March 22 about the allegations against him as well as his suspected breach of the Executive Ethics Code.
“After lengthy deliberations and taking into account that the case is a part-heard matter, it was agreed that the president would be given a set of questions, answer some through an affidavit and meet again with the public protector to provide answers on matters needing clarity,” the statement said.
Thuli’s planned interview with the president forms part of her investigation into the alleged involvement of the Gupta family in Zuma’s appointment of Cabinet ministers and board members of state-owned enterprises.
She is also expected to probe the Guptas on their alleged link to the awarding of state contracts and licences to companies linked to the family” before she leaves office later this month.
Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma has appointed Advocate Mkhwebane as the new public advocate that will succeed Thuli for the next seven years starting from October 15.
Advocate Mkhwebane on her own part, assured the public of giving her best in the service though she said the controversial state capture will not be her priority.
“Rest assured, I am there to do my work within the rule of law and constitutionality,” Mkhwebane said, following President Jacob Zuma’s announcement of her appointment.
When asked what then will be her main focus when she resumes office, the new public advocate said: “Let me get there and see what still needs to be done and take it from there. If we find that anything was improperly done, we will make a finding on it.”
“The priority, however, will be the backlog of cases in the public protector’s office. I will balance the backlog cases,” “That is the priority for me because then we investigate the undue delays,” Advocate Mkhwebane added.
Advocate Mkhwebane however noted that she would work with the justice department to tackle financial constraints facing the public protector’s office.
“There are a lot of courts in rural areas that are not accessible and I will partner with them to save on rent [for offices], they will be receptive to that,” She said, adding that she will also seek “innovative ways” to deal with the constraints, including using internal resources. “Employees are a strategic asset and we will serve South Africans,” Advocate Mkhwebane said.