Former Public Protector (PP) Thuli Madonsela was part of an “engine room” which advised former president Jacob Zuma on what his government’s polices should be, members of which were later appointed to key positions, the SACP deputy secretary general Solly Mapaila plans to tell the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, according to an explosive report in The Sunday Times.
Members of the “engine room” say it was just a “think tank”, with Madonsela saying she is often approached for such work and there was never any discussion of the members getting government positions.
Mapaila, however, alleges the group was set up in secret without the knowledge of the ANC’s alliance partners and that Zuma implemented some of its suggestions despite them being against the advice of a transitional team set up by the ANC, SACP and Cosatu to set the agenda for Zuma’s presidency.
He also believes the group shows how “capture happened even before” Zuma became president.
As well as Madonsela, former national police commission Riah Phiyega, Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson Glen Mashinini and Vincent Magwenya, who later became Zuma’s spokesperson, are alleged to be among those who formed the “engine room”.
The full report is available in today’s Sunday Times.
While the “engine room” may just have been a “think tank” as its members claim, and has not been linked to any corruption, the idea of Madonsela as someone who may have aided Zuma in any way may be surprising to some who saw her role, through reports released as Public Protector that highlighted state capture and irregularities in the financing of upgrades to his Nkanda homestead, as central to his eventual downfall.
In her report titled “Secure in Comfort” she instructed, through remedial actions, that President Jacob Zuma pay back a portion of the R246 million of taxpayers’ money used to upgrade his homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
Her ‘state capture‘ report, led to the establishment of the Zondo commission.
The Citizen reported in March, 2018 that the evidence – and pressure – piled up against Zuma following the hand over of former public protector (PP) Thuli Madonsela’s investigation record to the commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the public sector, including organs of state.
“The record includes documentary evidence and transcripts of meetings and interviews, among other things,” the PP’s spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said yesterday. “It has been packaged into 110 arch lever files and 17 boxes and shipped off to the commission.”
PP Busisiwe Mkhwebane had previously said Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo “must” investigate all the issues using the record of the investigation and Madonsela’s “State of Capture” report as a starting point.
Judiciary spokesperson Nathi Ncube told The Citizen he would not speculate on how helpful the information could be to the Zondo commission.
Madonsela cautioned Zuma at the time that he would be flouting the law if he went beyond the remedial actions of the report.
In a statement issued by the Presidency last night, Zuma said: “The commission must seek to uncover not just the conduct of some, but of all those who may have rendered our state or parts thereof vulnerable to control by forces other than the public for which government is elected.”
“The president has no authority to change the terms of reference of the commission. He can announce a commission of inquiry into any matter at any given point as per his executive powers outlined in the constitution,” Madonsela responded.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, Amanda Watson, Gosebo Mathope and Yadhana Jadoo)