South Africa’s Democratic Alliance (DA), the country’s lead opposition party, welcomed the news that President Jacob Zuma will appoint a long-delayed commission of inquiry into government corruption allegations and Zuma’s ties to the wealthy and well-connected Gupta family.
Yet DA leader Mmusi Maimane warned that the party will not allow the commission to be “another whitewash” in line with previous attempts to exert political control over the investigation process.
“As the initial complainant in the State of Capture report, we will closely monitor the Commission over the next 180 days,” the DA said in its statement. The DA wants a thorough accounting of all links between the Zuma and Gupta families, and all business dealings between Gupta-linked companies and South African state entities including the country’s revenue service and elite police agencies.
Zuma announced Tuesday his decision to appoint the commission, which has been a point of contention since the country’s public protector issued the 2016 State of Capture report. The report conclusions originally required Zuma to establish such a commission within 30 days of its issue, which touched off an ongoing political crisis for the president and other African National Congress (ANC) leaders as well as a wider circle of multinational corporations tied to South Africa’s Eskom and other state-owned entities.
In his statement, Zuma distanced himself from his previous attempts to block the inquiry. Last month’s court ruling determined that the protector’s report recommendations are legally binding and required the president to pay legal expenses incurred during the review.
“I have decided that, while the issues determined by the order require final determination by higher courts, this matter cannot wait any longer,” Zuma said. “It is of such serious public concern that any further delay will make the public doubt government’s determination to dismantle all forms of corruption, and entrench the public perception that the state has been captured by private interests for nefarious and self-enrichment purposes.”
President Zuma’s complete statement is available here.
Image: State of Capture report