Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Mkhwebane seeks to broaden scope of state capture inquiry

Mkhwebane seeks to broaden scope of state capture inquiry

"It is of such serious public concern that any further delay will make the public doubt government's determination to dismantle all forms of corruption and entrench the public perception that the state has been captured by private interests for nefarious and self enrichment purposes".

South Africa's Jacob Zuma has finally approved a long-delayed judicial inquiry into claims of state looting under his presidency, a day before a meeting of the ruling African National Congress that is set to consider his future.

President Jacob Zuma announced on Tuesday evening that chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng had appointed his deputy to head a commission of inquiry into political corruption, which was recommended in an October 2016 report by the previous public protector Thuli Madonsela.

Nonetheless, Madonsela said the commission of inquiry may only focus on state capture allegedly committed by the Zuma and Gupta families. Zuma argued that he is concerned that this sets a particular precedent for the office of President and is deserving of legal certainty.

The Public Protector's Cleopatra Mosana says that Mkhwebane wants to ensure that the state of capture commission of inquiry is not limited to the issues identified in the initial report.

Zuma's surprise announcement was widely interpreted to have saved him from being recalled this week.

In his statement Zuma has relinquished the power to Mogoeng who he says has selected Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who was appointed in June past year following the retirement of Dikgang Moseneke.

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Zuma's announcement also follows a court ruling on December 14 that ordered the president to appoint a commission of inquiry within 30 days and to pay the costs of the investigation.

Madonsela released a report‚ titled State of Capture‚ in November previous year concerning allegations of an improper relationship between Zuma‚ other state officials and the Gupta family.

"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", said Zuma in his announcement.

"Such broad terms would have the potential to bog down the inquiry, rendering it ineffective, but whether Zuma will emerge from this week's ANC conference in East London with enough power to influence the terms of reference will be instructive", she said.

South Africa gained independence in 1994.

In his goodbye speech as ANC leader last month, the 75-year-old Zuma acknowledged "failures" that have threatened the party's future and said greed was posing a serious threat.

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