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R3 million needed for Gupta probe – Madonsela

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Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Tuesday repeated her call for additional funding for a probe into state capture, with her office saying she has asked the finance ministry for R3 million for the investigation but was still waiting for a decision.

“She has said that she would need at least another three million (rand),” said Oupa Segalwe, the spokesman for Madonsela’s office.

Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela File picture: Masi Losi. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

He said apart from the fact that it was well-known that the Public Protector’s office was under-funded and under-staffed, the nature of the complaint and the complexity of the case made a separate budget allocation necessary.

Segalwe recalled that the Democratic Alliance had requested Madonsela to investigate state capture and whether President Jacob Zuma had in this regard breached the Executive Ethics Code, but that she had also received a complaint from the Dominican order asking her to probe all government contracts, as well as mining licences, awarded to companies linked to the Gupta family.

The two complaints were brought after Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said in March that he had been approached last year by the wealthy family to replace then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, who was fired by Zuma shortly afterwards in a move that shook the financial markets.

“Because of the magnitude of the probe, she would have to insource expertise,” Segalwe told the African News Agency (ANA).

He was speaking after Madonsela told reporters in Johannesburg that she had asked government for additional funding for the investigation and was waiting for a response.

Madonsela added: “If we do get those resources it would be much better to have this investigation expedited.”

Segalwe said as the chapter 9 institution was still waiting for an answer from government, “to say that the investigation is in full swing, would not be accurate”.

So far the Public Protector has verified that the investigation fell within its jurisdiction and taken the usual step of formally informing interested parties of the complaint.

Segalwe confirmed that Madonsela had written to Zuma in this regard.

The Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said he wrote to Justice Minister Michael Masutha on Tuesday to ask that he take it upon himself to allocate additional funding to Madonsela to allow her to continue with the investigation.

“The minister of justice ought to reprioritise his current budget in order to make such funds available.”

[Source: IOL/ANA]

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