Parliamentary committee tackles public protector over state-capture probe

Mkhwebane must not ‘interfere’ with the scope of the inquiry, says Mathole Motshekga.

Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice on Friday signalled its unhappiness with controversial public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane for calling for the scope of the judicial inquiry into state capture to be extended, a prospect widely dismissed as a delaying tactic to protect those implicated.

The chairman of the committee, African National Congress (ANC) veteran Mathole Motshekga, urged Mkhwebane to respect the directives regarding the inquiry set out by the her predecessor Thuli Madonsela in 2015.

“That remedial action confines itself to what should form part of the inquiry. It is not for her to request an expansion of the terms of reference for the state capture inquiry. In fact, it is only the courts that have the power to amend or change the remedial action.”

Motshekga said the calls made by Mkhwebane were confusing to the general public and she must not “interfere” with the remedial action or scope of the inquiry.

“The integrity of the remedial action should not be questioned and as the courts have previously ruled, the remedial action of the public protector is binding.”

Motshekga said the committee would raise the matter with Mkhwebane directly.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission, headed by Judge Raymond Zondo, last week after losing a legal challenge to Madonsela’s report into the abuse of public funds to benefit the business empire of the Gupta family.

But he has yet to heed pressure to issue the terms of reference.

The political opposition and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa have called for these to be restricted to the scope set out by Madonsela, to allow the probe to be concluded timeously.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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