Thuli Madonsela is going all out to complete her latest probe into the president before she packs up her desk in October. She is probing Zuma for allegedly allowing the Gupta family to influence his appointment of cabinet ministers and heads of state-owned entities.
Just a month before she is due to vacate her office, Madonsela had written to Zuma informing him of her investigation into him breaching the executive code of conduct – for the third time.
The South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog has already interviewed Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, his predecessor Nhlanhla Nene and deputy finance minister Jonas and is set to interview at least 23 other top officials and members of Zuma’s cabinet among them seven ministers, a deputy minister and a former MP.
She interviewed Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, asking him to provide any evidence he had of the Gupta family’s influence on his cabinet colleagues.
According to The Sunday Times, former South African Revenue Service acting head Ivan Pillay and other former top government officials have also been interviewed. In addition, Madonsela has also invited Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, Co-operative Governance Minister David van Rooyen, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, former transport minister Ben Martins, Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown to be interviewed.
She determined to find out how decisions are taken, especially in relation to the appointment of board members of state-owned companies.
So far, the leaders who have complied with Madonsela’s request are those known to be opposed to Zuma’s continued stay in the Union Buildings.
• If he had received any gifts from the Gupta brothers;
• To explain the relationship between his own family and the Gupta family;
• If he had acted improperly in relation to Gupta-owned companies; and
• Whether he had benefited from the income his son Duduzane receives through his shares in Gupta companies.
Presidency spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga confirmed that Zuma had received the letter, which was ” being processed”.
This is the third time She is investigating President Zuma. She found him guilty of breaching the code in 2010 for having missed the deadline to declare his financial interests to parliament by eight months. In 2014 she found Zuma had failed to protect state resources when the government spent an estimated R246-million to improve security at his private Nkandla residence.
Complaints came from the Catholic Dominican Order and the DA. Madonsela was urged to look into state contracts with the Guptas, mining licences and even advertisements in the New Age newspaper. She pleads that all the people and institutions involved in the matter should come forward with evidence.
Cabinet spokesman and Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe confirmed this week that the cabinet had decided to meet Madonsela’s request for cabinet minutes. The probe is funded by a R1.5-million cash guarantee from the National Treasury.
Zuma has denied Jonas’ claims, saying only the president appointed ministers, in line with the constitution. The Guptas have denied influencing Zuma, saying they were pawns in a political plot against the president.
The Guptas, who moved to South Africa from India after apartheid fell in 1994, run businesses ranging from uranium and coal mining to media and information technology.