Call for struc­tured state cap­ture in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Pres­i­dent said to be buy­ing time by ap­point­ing in­quiry; NEC urged to re­call him

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - KAILENE PIL­LAY AND BALD­WIN NDABA

Thuli Madon­sela had to en­dure ridicule

CIVIL-so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions have called on the state cap­ture in­ves­ti­ga­tion to home in on Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s al­leged in­flu­enc­ing of the al­lo­ca­tion of ten­ders to the Gupta fam­ily and his son Duduzane.

Cor­rup­tion Watch spokesper­son Te­bogo Khaas said the terms of ref­er­ence of the in­quiry, to be headed by Deputy Chief Jus­tice Ray­mond Zondo, had to be based on former pub­lic pro­tec­tor’s Thuli Madon­sela’s re­port – and not un­nec­es­sar­ily broad­ened as Zuma’s sup­port­ers have urged.

Madon­sela fo­cused only on the in­flu­ence of the Gupta fam­ily in state af­fairs.

He said ev­i­dence al­ready in the pub­lic do­main demon­strated that an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into state cap­ture by the Gupta and Zuma fam­i­lies would un­doubt­edly im­pli­cate sev­eral ma­jor pri­vate sec­tor firms.

“While there is a good rea­son to con­duct a broad-rang­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into state cap­ture through the ages, the State of Cap­ture in­ves­ti­ga­tion is specif­i­cally con­cerned with the cap­ture of the state per­pe­trated by the Gupta fam­ily, Zuma and his son,” Khaas said.

Khaas said the press­ing prob­lem fac­ing the coun­try was the role of the head of state and his “wealthy cronies” us­ing their ac­cess to state power to “feather their own nests”.

The Or­gan­i­sa­tion Un­do­ing Tax Abuse (Outa) also joined the fray by call­ing for a struc­tured com­mis­sion of in­quiry. Outa’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer (COO) Ben Theron said the an­nounce­ment was long over­due – 14 months af­ter Madon­sela re­leased her re­port.

“Thuli Madon­sela had to en­dure ridicule, hate speech and em­bar­rass­ment in re­la­tion to her re­port, which the pres­i­dent now wel­comes as if he ac­cepted her re­me­dial ac­tion from the start, de­pict­ing the far­ci­cal na­ture and op­por­tune tim­ing of his an­nounce­ment on the eve of the ANC’s NEC meet­ing,” Theron said.

Zuma an­nounced the com­mis­sion hours be­fore – and af­ter months of re­sis­tance, in­clud­ing a court chal­lenge – the sit­ting of the ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) yes­ter­day, dur­ing which his de­trac­tors had been plan­ning to use the al­le­ga­tions of state cap­ture against him to oust him.

Theron said the tim­ing of Zuma’s an­nounce­ment of the com­mis­sion was solely aimed at per­suad­ing the ANC’s NEC not to re­call him from of­fice.

“Outa be­lieves the pres­i­dent’s de­ci­sion to ap­point this com­mis­sion is merely a tac­tic to buy him­self more time in the Pres­i­dency and that the ANC’s NEC should not be fooled by this move. In­stead, we urge the NEC to move swiftly to re­call Zuma as pres­i­dent and thereby kick­start the recla­ma­tion of South Africa from the de­struc­tion of cor­rup­tion,” Theron said.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts, too, be­lieve the an­nounce­ment was “po­lit­i­cally timed” in an 11th hour bid to save him­self.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst So­madoda Fikeni said the an­nounce­ment had not been one “from a sin­cere heart” but was rather a way to an­chor Zuma in his po­si­tion as pres­i­dent of the coun­try to serve out the re­main­der of his term.

Fikeni said the ANC’s na­tional elec­tive con­fer­ence had de­cided that an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into state cap­ture should be­gin.

“He knew his de­lay­ing tac­tics would ag­gra­vate the NEC. This is not a con­ces­sion or a sud­den re­al­i­sa­tion by (Zuma), but he now sees the shrink­ing for­tunes around him and hopes that this lat­est an­nounce­ment would boost him po­lit­i­cally,” Fikeni said.

Fel­low an­a­lyst Ralph Mathekga be­lieves Zuma is un­der siege and that all his de­ci­sions have been based on po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ence.

“He is try­ing to par­tially re­move some of the grounds that the call for his re­moval was based on. He may be a slight step ahead of the NEC now but he is not able to change peo­ple’s minds,” Mathekga said.

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