JOHANNESBURG - Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says President Jacob Zuma’s proposal that he be excluded from a state capture inquiry makes no sense.
“That defies logic for me because this whole investigation was only about him," she told eNCA reporter Karyn Maughan in an interview.
If the president’s proposal that he be excluded was granted, the inquiry may as well not go ahead, she said.
Madonsela said there was already evidence that Zuma violated the Constitution in his handling of the state capture scandal.
“With due respect, in terms of the report that I issued, the president is already implicated. But yesterday [Sunday] he was openly telling the nation in Kagiso that the people criticising him are foreign agents, he’s done nothing wrong.
"But that’s disrespecting the Constitution. Because a constitutional body, given the power to investigate, already found that …there’s evidence of wrongdoing, and one year down the line, he still hasn’t answered. But he’s defying the law by firstly telling people he’s done nothing wrong, and then casting aspersions on people who believe he’s done something wrong.”
Madonsela said though she was grateful that the president was now promising that a state capture inquiry would be instituted, she could not understand his proposal that the investigation into his conduct be excluded from that public investigation.
“That defies logic for me because this whole investigation was only about him…The allegation is that him and companies related to his family, the Zuma family and the Gupta family are being allowed to influence state decisions regarding who should be a minister, who should be a DG, who should be on boards of state-owned enterprises. And the allegation is that he probably violated his executive ethics code in allowing this.”
Zuma wants that probe referred back to Madonsela’s successor, Busiswe Mkhwebane.
Madonsela said there was evidence of the Guptas’ involvement in the shock 2015 removal of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and his four-day long replacement by Des van Rooyen.
“The evidence that is there at the moment suggests that these people knew, it suggests that there is an uncomfortable relationship between the president and these people. The evidence also suggests that the president has violated the Executive Members Ethic Code, section 96 of the Constitution…in failing to investigate this matter as soon as it came up.”
In other words, Zuma’s failure to act on current evidence of state capture was a clear violation of the constitution and of his ethical obligations as South Africa’s "first citizen".