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Public Protector welcomes Zuma decision to appoint state capture inquiry

After months of calls for the president to comply with the remedial action set out in the State of Capture Report, Zuma announced on Tuesday that it t now deserved urgent attention.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane during a press briefing. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has welcomed President Jacob Zuma's decision to finally appoint a commission of inquiry into state capture but refused to comment on how the delay impacts on the investigation.

After months of calls for the President to comply with the remedial action set out in the State of Capture Report, Zuma announced on Tuesday that it t now deserved urgent attention.

Zuma announced that deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo had been appointed to head the commission.

The report looked into whether the controversial Gupta family had undue influence on the state as a result of their proximity to the president.

On Tuesday night, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said President Zuma's decision to delay the appointment of the commission may jeopardise the investigation.

“We wouldn’t be talking in a situation where some the evidence would have been lost. Some of the cellphone records are kept for a limited period.”

However, the Public Protector's Cleopatra Mosana says people should focus on the fact that the appointment has been made.

“Obviously those issues have been ventilated as to why there was a delay. We cannot conclusively say that, hence the Public Protector is welcoming that. What is important that all of us need to focus on is that a decision now has been made.”

The Public Protector has called for the president to draw the terms of reference for the commission and broaden the scope of the investigation to include the so-called Gupta emails.

Madonsela instructed Zuma to establish a commission of inquiry in her remedial action in the State of Capture Report, compiled after investigating a litany of allegations against the Gupta families, the president's son Duduzane Zuma and other people close to the head of state.

She also ordered that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng appoint the judge to head the commission, as Zuma was compromised by being linked to the web of allegations.

The President went to court to block Madonsela's instructions, but he failed in this attempt.

Meanwhile, the chief executive of Business Leadership South Africa says they have no choice but to welcome President Zuma's announcement of the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.

Zuma announced that deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo has been appointed to head the commission.

CEO Bonang Mohale says the organisation is emboldened that state capture will finally be dealt with.

“So we deem the president’s remarks intimating that Justice Zondo should broaden the scope of the inquiry as an inappropriate attempt to redefine the terms of reference of the investigation to exclude himself.”

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