Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was on Friday approached by an order of Catholic priests and brothers to conduct a systemic investigation into the involvement of the Gupta family in state affairs and the award of contracts to companies linked to the family.
Madonsela’s office also said Friday that following a complaint by the Democratic Alliance, her office would investigate the Guptas’ alleged “state capture”. DA leader Mmusi Maimane was reported to have lodged the complaint that morning‚ asking Madonsela to probe whether President Jacob Zuma violated the Executive Members’ Ethics Act.
The Dominican Order, meanwhile, requested the public protector to investigate allegations that the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Mcebisi Jonas, and a former Member of Parliament, Ms Vytjie Mentor, were offered cabinet positions by members of the Gupta family in exchange for favourable executive decisions and beneficial business interests.
While Madonsela would do a preliminary assessment of the Dominicans’ request, she would definitely investigate the DA request.
The priests also requested the public protector to investigate whether the appointment of Mr Des van Rooyen as Minister of Finance was known beforehand by the Gupta family as has been alleged. They further asked the public protector to look into allegations that two “senior advisors” linked to the Gupta family were appointed to the National Treasury, alongside Mr Van Rooyen, without following proper procedure.
In addition to these, the Dominican Order, asked the Public Protector to look into all business dealings of the Gupta family with any of the government departments to determine whether there were irregularities, undue enrichment, corruption and undue influence in the award of tenders, mining licenses, government advertisements in the New Age Newspapers and any other government services.
The complaint will be subjected to the public protector’s standard assessment process, which seeks to establish if the public protector has jurisdiction to investigate the allegations and also to ascertain if there is any merit to the claims. The assessment process takes up to five working days. Only after this process will the Public Protector be in a position to make a decision on whether or not the matter will be investigated.