11 January 2018

South Africa: State Capture Inquiry - Mkhwebane's Actions 'Reflect Captured Person' - SACP

The EFF called on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to "learn to keep quiet", while the SACP said her actions "reflect an embedded if not captured person" in response to Mkhwebane's statement on the judicial commission of inquiry that President Jacob Zuma announced on Tuesday.

"Each time she speaks, and because it is not even necessary for her to do so at all times, she continues to tarnish the reputation of the respectable office of the Public Protector," said EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndozi in a statement on Thursday.

In contrast to her predecessor Thuli Madonsela, who said the inquiry must focus on the allegations of state capture relating to the Zuma and Gupta families, Mkhwebane called for a wider probe into state capture, "not limited to the issues investigated or identified in the State of Capture report", Mkhwebane said in a statement on Wednesday.

Mkhwebane also called on Zuma to ensure that Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who has been appointed to head the inquiry as recommended by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, has the power to expand "the issues to be investigated, should any relevant evidence of state capture be brought to him during the inquiry".

"In so saying, Mkhwebane seeks to give credence to Zuma's ill-intention to overburden the scope of the inquiry so that it never really arrives at holding him accountable for his corruption with the Gupta family," said Ndlozi.

"By now it should be obvious that to amend the remedial action of the Public Protector, one must do so through courts and within a given period of time."

'Silence is golden'

Ndlozi said the EFF questions Mkhwebane's constitutional literacy and judgement.

"She is not only dangerous to the reputation and public standing of the important office of the Public Protector. She also risks undermining the very constitutional work it has to combat state corruption."

"We reiterate that she must learn to keep quiet, do her work and mind her own business; for at times, silence is golden," said Ndlozi.

In a statement released on Thursday, SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said: "Busisiwe Mkhwebane must desist from temptations to use the authority of the Public Protector to propagate populist and factional politics.

"Instead of being seen protecting the public, her actions reflect an embedded if not captured person using the authority of the Public Protector to advocate such sectarian politics with the potential effect of bringing the image of the office into disrepute.

"Mkhwebane's utterances regarding the terms of reference of the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture are the latest case in point."

'No room to expand commission'

Mashilo pointed out that the commission was established as a direct result of the remedial action prescribed by Madonsela.

It was Madonsela's last report, State of Capture , released in October 2016, which eventually led to Zuma appointing the inquiry on Tuesday evening. Zuma's bid to have Madonsela's prescribed remedial action - that Chief Justice Mogoeng select a judge to head the inquiry - reviewed, failed last month in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

Madonsela said on Tuesday she had clarity on what the terms of reference should be: what she investigated. "There is no room to expand the commission to include what was never investigated."

She responded to Mkhwebane's statement on Thursday, saying that anything other than an investigation into the alleged state capture by the Zuma's and Gupta's would not only be in defiance of the court order, but also derail the investigation.

Zuma has of yet not released the inquiry's terms of reference, and Mkhwebane offered her help to develop them.

Opposition parties the DA, IFP and UDM have pleaded that the terms of reference be focused on the alleged Zuma/Gupta state capture project.

ANCWL points finger at 'neoliberal media houses'

Taking a view similar to that of Mkhwebane is the Zuma-aligned ANC Women's League (ANCWL).

"The ANCWL has been consistent in calling for a full-scale investigation on the allegations of state capture instead of a narrow politically motivated investigation. It is our hope that terms of reference [for] the commission of inquiry to be appointed by His Excellency President Zuma will include all the state-owned entities (SOEs) without exception and will date back to pre-1994," reads its statement.

The league also pointed out that everyone has the right to a fair trial.

"The ANCWL is confident that the commission of inquiry will not be influenced by any prior judgments passed through courts of public opinions which were instituted by neoliberal media houses."

Source: News24

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