President Jacob Zuma wants the investigation into alleged state capture deferred to incoming Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, says outgoing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
President Zuma and his legal team spent the bulk of their four-hour meeting on Thursday arguing that Mkhwebane take over the probe instead of answering the questions brought before them, the outgoing Public protector said in a statement.
The lawyers said there “wasn’t enough time to conclude the matter properly and that there was no reason for the investigation to be prioritised”.
Thuli described the meeting as “cordial” and said she was told Pres. Zuma had not had time to prepare answers with legal advice, given the investigation timelines.
This was despite her advising him, in writing, on March 22 about the allegations against him, including his suspected breach of the Executive Ethics Code.
At the end of the lengthy deliberations, it was agreed that Zuma would be given a set of questions and that he would provide answers in an affidavit. He would meet the public protector again to provide answers on matters needing clarity before she leaves office.
Thuli Madonsela’s interview with Zuma formed part of her investigation into the alleged involvement of the Gupta family in the appointment of Cabinet ministers and board members of state-owned enterprises.
Madonsela leaves office this month. Pres. Zuma appointed Mkhwebane as the new public protector for a seven-year term, with effect from October 15.
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The presidency has yet to respond to the statement.