Madonsela receives full cooperation in state capture probe

Madonsela has confirmed in a letter to DA leader Mmusi Maimane that her investigation is well under way.

FILE: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says she's receiving full co-operation from most of the parties involved in her probe into allegations of state capture.

Madonsela is investigating complaints of impropriety and unethical conduct by President Jacob Zuma and state officials due to their alleged inappropriate relationship with members of the Gupta family.

Cabinet said last week it was complying with a subpoena from Madonsela for ministers declarations of interest and Cabinet minutes for the period from November last year to April this year.

Madonsela has confirmed in a letter to Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane that her investigation is well under way.

Maimane wrote to Madonsela last month, asking for a progress report.

In her reply, Madonsela says she's been given voluminous amounts of information and documents for review and has already consulted a number of witnesses and interested parties, with more interviews on the cards.

The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Madonsela intends interviewing 23 top officials and cabinet members, as well as a deputy minister and a former Members of Parliament.

The Presidency confirmed to the newspaper receipt of a letter from Madonsela to Zuma about his relations with the Gupta family and any benefits he may have received through his son Duduzane's shareholding in Gupta companies.

MADONSELA INTERVIEWS FINANCE MINISTERS

Madonsela has already interviewed Pravin Gordhan, his predecessor Nhlanhla Nene and deputy finance minister Jonas and will interview at least 20 other top officials and members of Zuma's cabinet, the paper said.

"Partly the reason we subpoenaed them is because they shouldn't be seen as sell-outs but as law abiding citizens who are complying with the lawful order from an authorized institution," Madonsela told the paper, without elaborating.

Presidency spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga confirmed to the paper that Zuma had received the letter from Madonsela and that it was "being processed."

Madonsela said in June she would investigate "specifically whether or not the government of South Africa and specifically the president unlawfully allowed the Gupta family to choose ministers and other occupants of high office."

The scandal surrounding the Gupta family took a dramatic turn earlier this year after Jonas said the Guptas had offered him his boss's job, an allegation that led to calls for Zuma to resign.

Zuma has denied Jonas' claims, saying only the president appointed ministers, in line with the constitution. The Guptas have denied influencing Zuma, saying they were pawns in a political plot against the president.

The Guptas, who moved to South Africa from India after apartheid fell in 1994, run businesses ranging from uranium and coal mining to media and information technology.

Madonsela, whose term as public protector ends in October, previously received public support in South Africa for taking Zuma to task over the spending of R240 million of state money on upgrading his private home.

She was vindicated in March when the Constitutional Court, the country's highest court, said Zuma had breached the Constitution by ignoring her recommendation that he repay some money that was spent on non-security upgrades. Zuma handed back some of the funds.