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Zondo commission yet to answer whether Guptas hijacked the state under Zuma, says Madonsela

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela. File photo.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela says the Zondo commission is yet to answer the question of whether the state was hijacked by the Gupta family under the presidency of Jacob Zuma.

She disagreed with the DA, which has been running a campaign pinning state capture on the ANC's cadre deployment policy.

Madonsela was speaking on Wednesday as a guest of the DA on its online show, The Inside Track, hosted by party spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube. She appeared on the show with DA leader John Steenhuisen, policy head Gwen Ngwenya and MP Leon Schreiber.

“I am happy the commission has given us its preliminary views on what happened. First, I would like to indicate that it's still not answered the big question of whether the state was hijacked,” said Madonsela.

“For example, some [DA members] have referred to cadre deployment as a problem. My preliminary conclusions as public protector was that what we were seeing was not cadre deployment, it was a hijack.”

She used cadre deployment in China to support her argument that the state was hijacked.

“If you look at China as a country, they have cadre deployment. What does it mean? It means deploy the best in the party, people who have been trained in statecraft, the best of them. In fact, if you fail, in the past you literally killed yourself because you couldn't go home because of a sense of shame.

“So those who went into the public service, why China has become a global giant, is because of cadre deployment. I am not for or against, but I am saying state capture, as we saw it, was about the family of president Zuma having gone into business with the Gupta family, and the power given to Zuma by the people of SA being hijacked and repurposed to advance the business interest of these two families.”

She said the Zondo commission, however, is saying that the interests of the two families went beyond business interests, hence the attempt at dismantling the SA Revenue Service.

Madonsela suggested strengthened oversight of the government by the public and parliament to avoid another state capture disaster.

Steenhuisen agreed with Madonsela on the call to strengthen oversight by parliament. He expressed dissatisfaction at the decrease in the number of times the president is called to parliament to answer oral questions by MPs and lambasted the presiding officers for allowing ministers to avoid questions by their fellow MPs.

TimesLIVE


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