Johannesburg - The appointment of a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture and its terms of reference sticking to former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendations meant South Africa was on track to cleanse itself of its corruption reputation, said veteran political analyst Somadoda Fikeni.
He was reacting on Thursday to the release of the terms of reference for Deputy Chief Justice Mlungisi Zondo’s commission of inquiry.
The commission will focus on the Gupta family’s alleged control of government decisions and their influence on government officials, including President Jacob Zuma, ministers and heads of state owned enterprises. “I think it (the commission) is a positive thing as South Africa’s reputation was being damaged.
“Now that it has finally taken off it will help to salvage South Africa’s reputation. If people do wrong, including the state president, the judiciary will make sure that they are held to account,” said Fikeni.
The terms of reference formed a solid base for the investigation, Fikeni said. It would now depend on how the investigating team is constituted “and on the fine tuning of the actual implementation”, he added.
“The investigating team should have forensic investigators and all other necessary teams and it must be well resourced. It could get straight to what Thuli Madonsela had started, and it could expand the scope without necessarily deviating from the essence of the state of capture but rather simply improving on areas that have to be covered,” he said.
He said the parliamentary inquiry into Eskom, currently under way, and leaked Gupta e-mails would assist the judicial investigation. “Any work by investigating journalists will help because it (the commission) will show where the contradictions are and it could also show where the leads are,” he said.
Investigations started by the Hawks and the Special Investigating Unit would also be crucial.
Constitutional law expert Pierre De Vos said the terms of reference “cover all aspects of the public protector’s report”.
Among the issues to be probed are whether attempts were made through any form of inducement or for gain to influence cabinet ministers, their deputies or any office bearers in the state and its entities.
The focus must be on the veracity of allegations that former deputy minister of finance, Mcebisi Jonas, and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor were offered cabinet posts by the Guptas. Also, whether Zuma had any role in the alleged offers of cabinet positions.