State of capture
Zuma has never explained why he did not investigate the various allegations of state capture relating to his friends and Cabinet before the public protector started her investigation, or before she released her report. He has since held that he was legally advised against a supposed parallel process once Madonsela’s report was out.
He has never explained why he tried to interdict the release of the report, then withdrew his objection in court.
In the time since, Zuma has made several promises to establish the judicial commission of inquiry Madonsela directed, characterised by his office as unequivocal undertakings. He maintained he could not launch such an inquiry until the courts decided on his reviews application dealing with the nature of such a commission.
He has not explained why he withdrew a crucial aspect of that review application in court.
Most recently, Zuma suggested a court should order that all state capture allegations relating to ethics breaches by the executive — which includes almost all allegations about him — be referred back to Madonsela’s successor, Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
He also committed to setting up such a court order or a commission of inquiry within 30 days, but made no commitments on its scope, powers or whether he would recuse himself from selecting its head. One year ago the State of Capture report gave two state-owned enterprises a reprieve.
Madonsela noted reports that Transnet had paid now-infamous companies Regiments and Trillian large amounts for seemingly little work, but postponed investigation of those payments to a second phase of inquiry.
Allegations about defence entity Denel’s since-abandoned international hookup with a Gupta-aligned company similarly got a mention, but no actual investigation or findings.
But whether or not a commission of inquiry is actually established, that reprieve is due to expire soon.
Parliament’s public enterprises committee, currently delving into the allegations about Eskom, has promised to turn to Transnet and Denel in turn — probably in that order. All three companies fall under its purview. The committee (and any commission of inquiry) will find their work much eased by the #GuptaLeaks emails, which have emerged since June.
Beyond revealing the involvement — and possible culpability — of private companies such as audit firm KPMG and German software giants SAP and Software AG in state capture, the emails suggested that:
O Denel tried to enter into a deal that would make the Gupta family the biggest beneficiary if any South African weapons were sold in India; and
O Transnet entered into a contract for locomotives from which R5.3billion had been due to flow to the Gupta family.
Transnet has asked its suppliers to disclose any commissions to third parties for further investigations. Denel has refused to speak about state capture allegations, which it said the
Hawks are investigating.