Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said she welcomes President Jacob Zuma’s decision to establish a commission of inquiry into state capture. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA

Durban - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Wednesday, said she welcomes President Jacob Zuma’s decision to establish a commission of inquiry into so-called state capture and encouraged him to ensure the terms of reference were “broad”.

Mkhwebane also said she would be available to assist with the development of the terms of reference if needed.

Mkhwebane said that after she had “perused” some of the information available, she called upon Zuma to ensure the terms of reference were “broad enough to include the capture of all state institutions and SOEs, so that the ability of the Commission to uncover the full extent of State Capture in South Africa is not constrained in any manner”.   

“In order to ensure that no stone is left unturned in so far as the allegations of state capture are concerned, and in order to avoid any further allegations of state capture being lodged with the Office of the Public Protector, the Public Protector calls upon the President of RSA to ensure that the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Commission of Inquiry are not limited to the issues investigated or identified in the State of Capture report,” said Mkhwebane.

Her predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, released the State of Capture report on October 14, 2016 -- the day Madonsela officially vacated office.

The report revealed there was an improper and possibly corrupt relationship between the wealthy Saxonwold-based Gupta family, who have interests in media, mining and technology, and several key members of Zuma’s inner-circle, including his son Duduzane, parastatal bosses and ministers.

It is alleged the Gupta brothers -- Tony, Ajay and Atul -- used their influence with Zuma to obtain lucrative state contracts while Duduzane, who works for the Guptas, acted as proxy.  

The report called for a full-scale commission of inquiry with wide reaching powers.

Zuma announced on Tuesday night that he was establishing the long-awaited commission, saying it was of such serious public concern that “further delay would make the public doubt government’s determination to dismantle all forms of corruption, and entrench the public perception that the state has been captured by private interests for nefarious and self-enrichment purposes”.

The president has sought to delay making this announcement, which included launching a review of the report.

However, on December 14 a full bench at the Pretoria High Court, led by Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, rejected the review application and ordered the establishment of a commission of inquiry led by a judge chosen by chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, within 30 days, as per Madonsela’s recommendations. 

Zuma said Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo -- who was selected by Mogoeng -- would lead the commission.

Mkhwebane also called on Zuma to ensure Zondo had the power to expand the issues to be investigated “should any relevant evidence of state capture be brought to him during the inquiry”.  

African News Agency/ANA