Zuma to set up commission to probe influence-peddling

13 January, 2018, 01:10 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo

The presidency said the two leaders will also explore areas geared towards increasing consultations on global issues that would be enhanced by increased contacts at the highest bilateral level. "To ensure that no stone is left unturned in so far as the allegations of state capture are concerned, and in order to avoid any further allegations of state capture being lodged with the Office of the Public Protector, the public protector calls upon the president to ensure that the terms of reference are not limited to the issues investigated or identified in the State of Capture report".

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.

Zuma had also previously sought to block the release of the 2016 report, entitled "State of Capture", which focused on allegations that Zuma's friends, the businessmen and brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta, had influenced the appointment of ministers.

Zuma had, until now, been reluctant to appoint the commission on the basis that he wanted the courts to clarity certain aspects of Madonsela's ruling he was not happy with.

Zuma said the commission would be headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Mnyamezeli Mlungisi Zondo.

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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane wants the terms of reference of the commission of inquiry into state capture to be broadened if necessary. "The Zondo Commission however, must be very specific and not unnecessarily drawn out to include other cases".

Mkhwebane said the ability of the commission to uncover the full extent of state capture in South Africa should not be constrained in any way. We call on the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to stop dithering. While the president has appealed the cost order and the judgment regarding the duties of the president to appoint commissions, he said in a statement on Tuesday he is taking further legal advice on this.

Zuma's surprise announcement was widely interpreted to have saved him from being recalled this week. The report delved into the Zuma administration's dealings with the Gupta family.

"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.

ANC insiders say this ace played by Zuma could weaken any attempts to oust him at Wednesday's NEC sitting, where it is rumoured that he will make an appearance.

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