Quest for clar­ity on Zuma’s in­quiry role

Nz­i­mande says Gupta emails look gen­uine, se­ri­ous mat­ter

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - TE­BOGO MONAMA

THE SA Com­mu­nist Party wants the Con­sti­tu­tional Court to clar­ify who can set up a ju­di­cial com­mis­sion of in­quiry if the pres­i­dent is im­pli­cated in an al­leged crime.

The SACP has called for a com­mis­sion of in­quiry into state cap­ture to be set up to look into al­le­ga­tions the Gupta fam­ily im­prop­erly in­flu­enced gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials for fi­nan­cial gain.

Last year, the public pro­tec­tor’s of­fice re­leased its State of Cap­ture re­port, which im­pli­cated Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and the Gupta broth­ers in al­leged acts of state cap­ture.

Zuma wants the public pro­tec­tor’s rec­om­men­da­tions to be re­viewed by the high court. ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe said the in­quiry would date back to 1994.

SACP gen­eral sec­re­tary Blade Nz­i­mande yes­ter­day said the leaked Gupta emails im­pli­cat­ing Zuma and his son Duduzane were a se­ri­ous mat­ter.

“Our view that we shared with the ANC NEC is that this com­mis­sion be set up as a mat­ter of ur­gency. Pos­si­bly, this mat­ter re­quires di­rect clar­ity by the Con­sti­tu­tional Court on what does one do in the event where the pres­i­dent who sets up the com­mis­sion is also im­pli­cated,” said Nz­i­mande.

On Fri­day, the ANC said the gov­ern­ment should probe the ve­rac­ity of the leaked emails.

Nz­i­mande said: “It’s a bit dif­fi­cult but they do look gen­uine from some of the re­sponses from the peo­ple who have not ques­tioned the au­then­tic­ity, but are try­ing to give us an ex­pla­na­tion of why they did what they did. No one has come out cat­e­gor­i­cally to say these emails are false. It’s very in­ter­est­ing also that no ac­tion has been taken against the me­dia who have been re­port­ing this. They do look gen­uine.”

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gigaba has in­sisted he has done noth­ing wrong. This af­ter the emails re­vealed im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials may have been “cap­tured” by the Gup­tas, in­clud­ing two who were spe­cially po­si­tioned in In­dia by Gigaba’s of­fice when he was home af­fairs min­is­ter.

Emails show how se­nior Gupta em­ployee Ashu Chawla re­peat­edly asked of­fi­cials to fast-track visas to ben­e­fit Gupta busi­nesses as­so­ciates.

Nz­i­mande said the in­quiry into the emails and their ve­rac­ity should be done as soon as pos­si­ble, and the scope should not be too big.

“Al­though we must not ex­clude other forms of state cap­ture in the in­quiry, it must not be so wide it doesn’t end. The most im­me­di­ate threat we are fac­ing is this Gupta-linked par­a­sitic net­works, but this does not mean other things can­not be touched upon.”.

He said the SACP was wor­ried about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the pres­i­dent, Duduzane and the Gupta fam­ily. “There are lots of com­pli­ca­tions about the role of the pres­i­dent and his son. This just does not look good. It’s a mat­ter we have raised in­side the al­liance. We don’t want to be judges, hence the es­tab­lish­ment of a ju­di­cial com­mis­sion of in­quiry. In terms of what is in the public do­main now, it is very se­ri­ous. The idea of a silent coup is not far-fetched,” Nz­i­mande said.

He said the al­liance part­ners were sup­posed to meet yes­ter­day to host an al­liance po­lit­i­cal coun­cil to dis­cuss the rift caused by in­fight­ing and calls for Zuma to step down, but the rul­ing party asked for a post­pone­ment.

“The ANC re­quested we post­pone be­cause it wants to en­gage with the process differently. We want is­sues fac­ing the coun­try, for ex­am­ple the toxic role of the Gup­tas, to be con­fronted head-on. We can no longer be fool­ing around while the coun­try is faced with se­ri­ous threats,” Nz­i­mande said.

silent coup is not far­fetched

WOR­RIED: Blade Nz­i­mande

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