Public Protector’s Gupta investigation needs to be impartial and properly funded

The DA calls on the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, to accede to the request made by the Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela, for adequate funding of the investigation into the “state capture” by the Gupta family.

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It is imperative that the Public Protector’s investigation, called for by the DA after numerous revelations over the last few days linking members of the Gupta family to political influence, is carried out impartially and is properly funded.

Adv. Madonsela’s term as Public Protector ends in October this year. If her investigation is not carried out before then, due to political pressure or inadequate funding, government will be seen to not be complying with its mandate of safeguarding the independence and investigative capacity of the Public Protector and other Chapter 9 institutions.

In the mounting instances of “state capture” it is critical that our institutions in defence of democracy are themselves protected from government’s persistent attacks- financially and otherwise.

We will not allow that to happen. The Public Protector must be appropriately resourced to be able to investigate every instance of corruption reported to her office. There is already a backlog of 260 cases – the Gupta family investigation cannot be added to this list.

Failing Treasury’s action in this regard the DA will be exploring all its options including requesting Parliament’s Rules Committee to establish a Standing Committee on Chapter 9 Institutions and Institutions Supporting Constitutional Democracy, so that these institutions can be funded directly by Parliament and not by a politically expedient Executive, as is currently the case.

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If the ANC then wishes to deny the Public Protector funding, they can do so in full view of the opposition and the public.

Since the commencement of the Nkandla investigation members of the ANC have treated Adv Madonsela with utter contempt, and the Public Protector budget has only shrunk. 

We contend that this is a tactic to thwart and frustrate the discharge of her work by starving this institution of the funds it needs.

This is no doubt as a result of the ANC becoming increasingly concerned with damning reports into the depth and scale of corruption at the hands of high-ranking officials.

It is therefore of national interest to ensure that the Gupta investigation is carried out independently and is properly resourced.

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