23 January 2018

South Africa: Deputy Chief Justice Zondo to Hold Briefing On State Capture Inquiry

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is expected to reveal further details of the commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture at a briefing in Midrand on Tuesday as the state takes steps against some of the people implicated in the claims.

On January 9 this year President Jacob Zuma finally announced the establishment of the commission, as recommended by the former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela who released the report, State of Capture , in October 2016.

The report was the first part of an investigation into allegations that wealthy business people the Gupta family had a hand in some ministerial appointments and were benefitting financially from close associations with decision makers at government entities such as Eskom.

The president was implicated in some of the allegations, with former MP Vytjie Mentor claiming he was in the Guptas' home in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, when they offered her the job of minister of public enterprises on condition that she "drop the SAA flight route to India and give to them [the Guptas]".

Zuma denied knowledge of this.

Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas alleged that Ajay Gupta offered him R600 000 on the spot if he accepted their offer to be minister of finance. The meeting was apparently attended by controversial businessman Fana Hlongwane and Zuma's son, Duduzane Zuma, according to Jonas. He refused, saying only the president could make such offers.

Eskom shake-up

A tumultuous series of events followed with then minister of finance Nhlanhla Nene removed in December 2015 and former Merafong mayor Des van Rooyen replacing him in that position. His job there lasted for the weekend before he was removed. Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan was brought in to help stabilise the markets and reassure investors.

Gordhan and Jonas were ousted in a surprise Cabinet reshuffle in March 2017, and Malusi Gigaba, who was then home affairs minister, became minister of finance.

Zuma initially dug his heels in over establishing the commission of inquiry, but after the country's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa took over from him as head of the ANC at the party's December elective conference, things have moved swiftly.

In announcing the commission, Zuma said: "The commission must seek to uncover not just the conduct of some, but of all those who may have rendered our state or parts thereof vulnerable to control by forces other than the public for which government is elected.

"There should be no area of corruption and culprit that should be spared the extent of this commission of inquiry."

In the meantime, there has been a shake-up at Eskom with the appointment of a new board and the removal of officials implicated in corruption allegations.

On Monday night Anoj Singh, Eskom's suspended chief financial officer, resigned.

Last week, the National Prosecuting Authority seized control of a dairy farm in the Free State and the bank accounts of Atul Gupta, companies co-owned by Duduzane Zuma and other entities in the Gupta empire.


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