Thuli defies Zuma as Guptas issue warning
Parliament - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has stuck to her guns and told President Jacob Zuma he will not get his wish to get her to delay the release of her report into state capture.
Madonsela confirmed on Tuesday that she stood by her statement that Zuma had an opportunity from March 22 to answer questions on the allegations of the Gupta family’s influence in the appointment of cabinet ministers.
Ajay Gupta on Tuesday shot back at Madonsela and accused her of flouting the law governing the public protector’s office.
He said it was evident Madonsela wanted to make adverse findings against them and leave Zuma with a parting shot that cast doubt on his credibility.
But Madonsela’s spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi said Madonsela had nothing further to say on this matter.
This followed the deadline set by Zuma on Monday for Madonsela to give him the evidence on state capture.
In addition, Zuma wanted to question ministers who gave evidence against him on state capture.
Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor has blasted Zuma and accused him of trying to delay the release of the report.
She said Zuma was hiding behind state power to circumvent the law and justice.
Masibi said Zuma needed to do one thing and one thing only - answer the questions sent to him by Madonsela.
“Our response is to appeal to him to respond to the questions put to him. The public protector believes this is in the interest of justice because it is casting a cloud over the government and it should be concluded expeditiously,” said Masibi.
Zuma’s deadline has come and gone despite his insistence on Monday that he needed answers by the close of business on Tuesday.
Ajay Gupta, through his lawyers Van der Merwe and Associates, said he had co-operated with Madonsela’s investigation voluntarily.
The lawyers wrote to Madonsela, warning her that if she issued her report this week, they reserved their rights because they were not given an opportunity to respond.
They said it appeared Madonsela had a predetermined outcome on the report despite their pleas to hear them.
The lawyers further warned that Madonsela would issue the report at her own risk and they would not support it.
“You are aware of the fact that you chose not to subpoena any one of the three Gupta brothers to give evidence despite the fact you intend to conclude a report which will in all likelihood have severe conclusions contained therein,” wrote the lawyers.
They would not accept the findings of the public protector and could possibly take them on review in court.
They also accused Madonsela of refusing the Guptas the opportunity to question some of the witnesses who gave evidence against them.
The lawyers said they wanted to interdict Madonsela, but have decided to wait until she released her report this week.
They added that if the report made adverse findings against the Guptas, they would not take it lying down.
They said this would not be a report that was conducted in good faith.