South Africa: Calls for President Zuma's resignation gains momentum
This was one of many observations in the State Capture report which was released yesterday following a bruising court battle.
THE REPORT COMPILED BY FORMER PUBLIC PROTECTOR THULI MADONSELA FOUND EVIDENCE THAT DUDUZANE AND THE GUPTAS WERE INVOLVED IN THE DECISION TO AXE FORMER FINANCE MINISTER NHLANHLA NENE IN DECEMBER.
Nene was briefly replaced by current Co-operative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen, who visited the Gupta home in Saxonwold, Joburg, multiple times in the week leading to his appointment, according to the report.
Mandonsela recommends that a commission of inquiry be led by an independent judge to investigate the allegations further. In the report, she said the Public Prosecutor’s office doesn’t have the resources to fully investigate the issue.
She worryingly observes that it’s probable that Zuma made his son and the Gupta family aware that Nene was going to be removed before it was publicly announced.
The report states that allegations surfaced during interviews that Zuma positioned himself with the Guptas to enrich himself and his son.
– The report also implicates Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, who apparently called one of the Gupta brothers 58 times between August last year and March. Molefe was also placed in the Saxonwold area on 19 occasions between 5 August and 17 November last year.
“These links cannot be ignored as Molefe did not declare his relationship with the Gupta family,” the report states.
According to the report, Molefe called Ronica Ragavan, a Gupta associate and current Oakbay CEO, on 11 April. This was the same day Eskom allowed the pre-payment of more than R600 million for coal from Tegeta, which is owned by the Guptas and Duduzane.
Madonsela recommends that some of her findings should be referred to the NPA for prosecution.
According to Madonsela, Eskom may have acted unlawfully by paying Tegeta to supply coal to the Majuba Power Station. The money appears to have been used to buy Glencore.
She said Tegeta misrepresented the deal to the public and the reasons for this could amount to fraud.
– Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane was also implicated in the report. Madonsela says Zwane needs to be interviewed over a trip he allegedly made to Switzerland with the Gupta family to negotiate Tegeta’s purchase of mining company Glencore.
“The minister did not complete his travel itinerary and mysteriously ended up in Dubai without boarding his scheduled flight from Zurich to Dubai,” the report reads.
“If Minister Zwane travelled in his official capacity to support Tegeta’s bid to buy the mine, his conduct would give Tegeta an unfair advantage over other interested parties.”
She notes that it was possibly unlawful for the minister to use his authority to influence a business transaction for a friend.
– Madonsela says Zuma must appoint a commission of inquiry headed by a judge to be selected by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng within 30 days.
She recommends that the judge be given the power to appoint staff independently and should use her report as a starting point.
“The president shall submit a copy with an indication of his/her intentions regarding the implementation to Parliament within 14 days of releasing the report.”
Zuma welcomed the release of the report, saying he would consider its contents. Opposition parties yesterday started calling on the president to step down.