While a hundred more information from the leaked Gupta email continues to reach the Public, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has announced her decision to investigate the email allegations.
The Protector who had earlier announced that she wouldn’t be looking into the alleged proof of Gupta’s state capture plans due to case backlogs announced her decision to set up a preliminary probe into the issue.
In a statement released on Wednesday evening, Advocate Mkhwebane said her launched preliminary probe will determine the merits of the leaked emails as well as the unlawful enrichment by public officials at Eskom, Prasa and Transnet.
This follows the news of an alleged kickback agreement of R5,3 billion regarding the purchasing of new locomotives for Transnet and the role of the then public enterprises’ minister, Malusi Gigaba in appointing so-called Gupta associates to the board of Transnet.
Advocate Mkhwebane reportedly said the allegations point to improper or dishonest acts with respect to state-owned enterprises and improper or unlawful enrichment by public officials at these institutions.
Aside from investigating the leaked email, the Public Protector will also look at the controversial issues surrounding the re-appointment of Brian Molefe as head of Eskom and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown‘s role in the overseeing the board of Eskom.
The office of the Public Protector stands as South Africa’s biggest watchdog. The office is permitted by law only to investigate a matter upon receipt of a written complaint or on her own initiative.
The constitutional obligation of the public protector is precisely to investigate any conduct in state affairs or the public administration that is “alleged or suspected to be improper, or to result in any impropriety or prejudice”.
— Public Protector SA (@PublicProtector) June 14, 2017
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.
Mkhwebane’s office reportedly said it would also be investigating claims that the Guptas received confidential information from former communications minister, Faith Muthambi.
She will also allegations that at least two immigration officials were posted in India by the then minister of home affairs, Malusi Gigaba, to help Gupta businesses, will also be investigated.
A second investigation into Prasa is underway, and allegations pertaining to it would be included in that investigation, the Public Protector reportedly said.
Meanwhile, as the consequences of each revealed email and allegation break, South Africans frown at Advocate Mkhwebane’s long silence and missing action by maintaining a strangely stoical silence.
South Africans are hopeful that their public protector would stand up for the Constitution and do what is right, The latest investigations into the Gupta leaked email and all other related matters of corruption goes a long way in restoring people’s hope in Advocate Mkhwebane.
The office of Public Protector Busiswe Mkhwebane has announced plans to investigate the alleged unlawful deals at Eskom and Prasa