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There is a little development regarding that little matter of state capture by the powerful Gupta family. Thuli would like to investigate the matter before she leaves office if that little matter of funding could be sorted out quickly by government.

Mr Zuma has been vigorously protesting that there is no such thing as state capture under him. As the ANC agrees with him on that there should be no hesitation on the government’s part to meet Thuli’s funding request. Let her get on with the job and vindicate the ANC’s standpoint.

The ANC should have nothing to fear from the investigation. Government should therefore have no reason to deny her the funds she requires to examine “specifically whether or not the government … and specifically the president unlawfully allowed the Gupta family to choose ministers and other occupants of high office.”

What Mr Zuma would like to dismiss as “a little matter” is by contrast of considerable importance to almost all of us in South Africa. We really do want to know whether our ministers in government were chosen by the Gupta family. If so, they will have been acting as Gupta proxies in cabinet and as Gupta agents in departments of government. This would make the Guptas extraordinarily powerful and we suspect that they are that powerful. It would also lay open for them the road to a massive accumulation of wealth. All of that would be against our common interest and we would therefore have a right to be very upset about that.

If the ANC denies the Public Protector the funds she is requesting or drags the matter out to make it coincide with her leaving office, South Africa will have received the answer via the back door, namely, that the state has indeed been captured. We will come to this conclusion by witnessing the paranoia and dread of the Public Protector that the ANC will manifest. All that Luthuli House has been trying to hide will be revealed and out in the open.

The stage is set for “a play within a play” wherein, as Shakespeare’s Hamlet would have said, we’ll “catch the conscience of the king.” If Mr Zuma and the ANC act guiltily and make assiduous attempts to frustrate the Public Protector, the truth will out. We will know that the Gupta family has most certainly been controlling the state for the past seven years.

South Africans are already fully persuaded by what Vytjie Mentoor and Deputy Minister Jonas Mcebisi so courageously revealed to the nation: the Guptas were involved in appointing ministers. It is most likely that they participated in the firing of Minister Nene in order to appoint Des van Rooyen to that post.

COPE urges the ruling party to fund the Public Protector as it has been freely funding the massive legal costs of Mr Zuma. We say let Thuli have the funds!

Issued by COPE

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