State capture report should not be expanded – Thuli
FORMER public protector and author of the State of Capture report, Thuli Madonsela, believes the inquiry into state capture cannot and should not be expanded.
Speaking to Independent Media yesterday, Madonsela said the inquiry was merely concluding an investigation that had already started, and that broadening the scope of the inquiry would be defying the court order.
“This is not about reinventing the wheel. There have been very direct remedial actions categorised in the report, but if there are other issues that are picked up along the way, then the president could appoint another commission to investigate those,” Madonsela said.
Her words come on the back of current Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane receiving the cold shoulder from political and civil society when she announced that she wanted the terms of reference of the commission of inquiry into state capture to be broadened and not focus only on the issues raised in her predecessor’s report.
Mkhwebane also offered her services to assist in compiling the terms of reference for the inquiry.
“Having perused some of the evidence at her disposal and in the public domain, the public protector also calls upon the president to ensure that the terms of reference are broad enough to include the capture of all state institutions and SOEs, so that the ability of the commission to uncover the full extent of state capture in South Africa is not constrained in any manner,” said her spokesperson, Cleopatra Mosana.
She said that as part of her responsibility to monitor the implementation of the remedial action, she would make herself available “to ensure the full and successful investigation of alleged state capture in the Republic”.
But her services are not needed and the terms of reference must follow the Constitutional Court findings, say political activists and civil society.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said Mkhwebane should “stop fooling herself ” and advised her to read the findings and remedial actions from the court and her predecessor, Madonsela.
“The judgment is clear on this inquiry. Her services are not needed and this inquiry does not need to be broadened,” Holomisa said.
The executive secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac), Lawson Naidoo, found Mkhwebane’s offer “inappropriate”.
He echoed the call for Mkhwebane to fall back, saying that the former public protector’s report and the December court judgment must be used as the basis for the terms of reference.
“There is a court finding in this matter and it is inappropriate for her to say she wants to draw up the terms of reference. It has to be done in line with the court finding and the report itself, and the remedial action must be taken in its totality and not in parts,” Naidoo said.
He said that with the need for the inquiry to be completed in six months, there was no time to broaden the terms of reference, as they needed to be focused.
The director of the non-profit organisation Open Secrets, Hennie van Vuuren, agreed that the terms of reference needed to be in line with the court judgment. “With the high-profile nature of this inquiry, it is imperative there is full compliance,” Van Vuuren said.
He added it was understandable that the public were apprehensive about Mkhwebane’s offer, as she had not proved her trustworthiness.
“The public have every right to be wary of the conduct of her office,” he said.
The SA Communist Party said that instead of being seen protecting the public, Mkhwebane’s actions reflected an “embedded if not captured person using the authority of the public protector to advocate such sectarian politics”, and this had the potential effect of bringing the image of her office into disrepute.
“Busisiwe Mkhwebane must desist from temptations to use the authority of the public protector to propagate populist and factional politics,” said SACP national spokesperson Alex Mashilo.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela.