South African watchdog to quiz Zuma in Gupta inquiry, newspaper reports


07 October, 2016

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, head of South Africa's state watchdog agency, has been widely praised for her probe into more than $20 million in state spending on Zuma's home.

The three Gupta brothers moved to South Africa from India at the end of apartheid in the early 1990s and went on to build a business empire that stretches from technology to the media to mining.

In a statement, the presidency said Mkhwebane would start her new job on 15 October.

Human rights group Accountability Now says it was expected president Zuma would respond this way.

Mkhwebane‚ an advocate‚ was officially appointed to the position on Thursday morning by President Jacob Zuma "for a period of seven years".

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The lawyers said there "wasn't enough time to conclude the matter properly and that there was no reason for the investigation to be prioritised".

The meeting was "cordial" and it was agreed that Zuma will be given a set of questions to answer through an affidavit, according to the statement.

Madonsela will quiz Zuma on Thursday over accusations the Gupta family played a role in selecting cabinet members and used their relationship with the president to gain favour in terms of government tenders, payments and licenses. Zuma has come under increased criticism in recent months from opponents and members of his own African National Congress (ANC) party over a series of corruption scandals.

Incoming Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has denied that she was a spy.

Yet South Africa's ruling party, often made uncomfortable by Madonsela's inquiries, had kind words for her at the farewell event. The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (SACCI) announced on Wednesday that its monthly business index dipped to 90.3 in September from 92.9 in August, its worst showing since July 1985.

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