Public Protector Busi Mkhwebane File photo: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA
Public Protector Busi Mkhwebane File photo: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA

Protector in 'about-turn' on #StateCapture inquiry

By Siphelele Dludla Time of article published Jan 18, 2018

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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Thursday denied reports that she had called for the broadening of terms of reference in the commission of inquiry into allegations state capture to date back to 1994.

Last week, President Jacob Zuma announced the establishment of the the commission of inquiry, as directed by the North Gauteng High Court, to probe allegations of state capture as recommended in the remedial actions of the report by Mkhwebane's predecessor, Thuli Madonsela. 

The commission would be headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Following the announcement, Mkhwebane called on Zuma to ensure that the terms of reference were not limited to the issues investigated or identified in the State of Capture report, saying this would ensure that "no stone is left unturned" and would avoid any further allegations being lodged with her office.

"Having perused some of the evidence at her disposal and public domain, the public protector also calls upon the president to ensure that the terms of reference are broad enough to include the capture of all state institutions and state-owned companies, so that the ability of the commission to uncover the full extent of State Capture in South Africa is not constrained in any manner," Mkhwebane said at the time.

ALSO READ: Protector encourages 'broad state capture inquiry'

On Thursday, Mkhwebane said that her statement had been misinterpreted in various media reports and by commentators. 

She said that her view was that the state capture report and judgment do not limit the issues to be investigated, but provide the starting point for the commission.

"Nowhere in the statement I issued on 10 January 2018, did I say that there is a need for historical investigation dating back to 1994. 

"Broadening the scope is related to the issues identified for investigation in the State of Capture report," Mkhwebane said.

"Though some of the contracts investigated in the state of capture report dates back 30 years back or more, for example in Eskom, therefore during the investigation it would be critical to determine what happened, what should have happened and what prescripts should have been complied with."

Mkhwebane also pleaded for more resources for her office, saying it was "under-resourced and underfunded" despite the important role it plays in South Africa.

"The lack of resources and inadequacy of the allocated funds for the investigation of the state capture allegations was at the core of the decision by the former public protector to refer all the state capture allegations to be investigated by a properly resourced and funded judicial commission of inquiry," Mkhwebane said.

"However, government has failed to properly resource this institution. In the current financial year, despite the fact that I have requested and motivated for a budget of at least R800 million, the National Treasury has cut this institution's budget by R8 million. 

"As a result of the above and considering the nature of the issues to be traversed and available resources, I will not be able to promptly investigate all the allegations of state capture, as reported after the publication of the state capture report." 

 African News Agency/ANA

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