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Mkhwebane denies calling for Apartheid-era state capture investigation

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance has issued a warning to President Jacob Zuma that broadening the scope of the state capture commission of inquiry to water it down would be illegal.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane during a press briefing. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has denied calling for Apartheid-era state capture to be probed alongside allegations around the Guptas.

Mkhwebane says her office has not been properly resourced and its budget has been cut by R8 million.

As a result, she is not currently in a position to properly investigate all allegations of state capture, including those that surfaced after the publication of the State of Capture Report.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has issued a warning to President Jacob Zuma that broadening the scope of the state capture commission of inquiry to water it down would be illegal.

The party has written to Zuma demanding that he release the terms of reference for the long-delayed inquiry by Friday.

It has been more than a week since Zuma announced he was establishing the inquiry, in compliance with an order of the North Gauteng High Court last month.

On 13 December, the court gave Zuma 30 days to launch the inquiry.

The DA says the inquiry, to be headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, cannot go ahead until the terms of reference are made clear.

The DA wants the inquiry’s terms of reference released as a matter of urgency but also says they must be limited to what former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said should be investigated in her State of Capture report.

A letter from the DA’s lawyers to President Zuma says that any attempt to dilute the inquiry by expanding the scope of the probe would be unlawful, and refers to Zuma’s Constitutional duty not to undermine the Office of the Public Protector.

DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe said: “The principal actors are the younger Zuma - Duduzane - the President himself and the notorious Gupta brothers. If one was to start there, one could very soon find out where the various tentacles exist into the state.”

Selfe says Mkwhebane’s alleged call for the inquiry to be broadened to include apartheid-era corruption is impractical and could lead to it sitting for years.

The Presidency was not immediately available to comment.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)

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