State cap­ture in­quiry tug-of-war

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - KAILENE PILLAY

FOR­MER public pro­tec­tor and au­thor of the State Cap­ture re­port, Thuli Madon­sela, be­lieves that the in­quiry into the phe­nom­e­non 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 broad­en­ing its scope 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,” she said.

Her words came as cur­rent Public Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane re­ceived the cold shoul­der from po­lit­i­cal and civil so­ci­ety when she an­nounced she wanted the terms of ref­er­ence of the com­mis­sion of in­quiry into state cap­ture to be broad­ened and not only fo­cus on her pre­de­ces­sor’s re­port.

Mkhwe­bane also of­fered her ser­vices to as­sist in com­pil­ing the terms of ref­er­ence for the broad­ened in­quiry.

“Hav­ing pe­rused some of the ev­i­dence at her dis­posal and 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 state-owned en­ti­ties, so that the abil­ity of the com­mis­sion to un­cover the full ex­tent of State Cap­ture is not con­strained in any man­ner,” said her spokesper­son Cleopa­tra Mosana.

She added 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 were not needed and the terms of ref­er­ence must fol­low the Con­sti­tu­tional Court find­ings, ac­cord­ing to 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.

“The judg­ment is clear. Her ser­vices are not needed and this in­quiry does not need to be broad­ened,” he added.

Ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary of the Coun­cil for the Ad­vance­ment of the South African Con­sti­tu­tion 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 term 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 it needed to be fo­cused.

Director for non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion, Open Se­crets, Hen­nie Van Vu­uren agreed that the terms needed to be in line with the court judg­ment.

“With the high-pro­file na­ture of this in­quiry, it is im­per­a­tive that there is full com­pli­ance,” Van Vu­uren said.

He added it was un­der­stand­able the public was ap­pre­hen­sive about Mkhwe­bane’s offer as she did not prove her trust­wor­thi­ness. “The public has ev­ery right to be wary of the con­duct of her of­fice,” he said.

The SACP 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 had the po­ten­tial ef­fect of bring­ing the im­age of the of­fice into dis­re­pute.

“Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane must de­sist from temp­ta­tions to use the author­ity of the public pro­tec­tor to prop­a­gate pop­ulist and fac­tional pol­i­tics.

“Mkhwe­bane’s ut­ter­ances re­gard­ing the terms of ref­er­ence of the ju­di­cial com­mis­sion of in­quiry into state cap­ture are a lat­est case in point,” said SACP com­mu­ni­ca­tions head and spokesper­son Alex Mo­hu­betswane Mashilo.

UN­DER FIRE: Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.