19 June 2017

South Africa: Public Protector Must Release Gupta Reports - Opposition

Photo: allafrica.com
Top: Title image of former public protector Thuli Madonsela's "state capture" report. Bottom-left: Atul Gupta and President Jacob Zuma. Bottom-right: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to release four reports involving the Gupta family on Monday "in the interest of transparency and the South African public".

Mkhwebane gave very little away when she announced she would hold a media briefing at her office on Monday morning "to release formal investigation reports".

The Sunday Times reported that she had sat on at least four separate investigative reports involving the Gupta family since she took up office eight months ago.

Her office told the newspaper that the reports were pending, not buried.

They include:

- the landing of Gupta wedding guests at Waterkloof Air Force Base in 2013;

- the relationship and funding of The New Age, key state-owned companies such as the SABC and the North West provincial government;

- The relationship between certain ANC politicians and the Guptas.

Without fear or favour

On Sunday, DA MP and justice spokesperson Glynnis Breytenbach said that with the flurry of reports uncovering state capture, it was more important than ever for the public protector to investigate and report without fear or favour.

"It is telling that not one of the reports released by Mkhwebane during her tenure have involved any key political figures, despite there being numerous complaints against such individuals," she said.

"The DA were concerned at her appointment and specifically that she has always been employed in and around government and that she specifically indicated that she wanted to have a more 'friendly relationship with government', which now seems to be proving true."

Mkhwebane announced on Wednesday that she would conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the merits of some of the allegations that have been published as part of the #GuptaLeaks saga that point to issues at Eskom, Prasa and Transnet.

These allegations point to improper or dishonest acts or offences with respect to public funds at the state-owned enterprises as well as well as improper or unlawful enrichment by certain public officials at these institutions.

Aside from the #GuptaLeaks, the investigation will also look at the controversial re-appointment of Brian Molefe as head of Eskom.

News24

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