Mmusi Maimane . Picture: THE TIMES/ALON SKUY
Mmusi Maimane . Picture: THE TIMES/ALON SKUY

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s preliminary investigation could end up shielding the "real power brokers" implicated in allegations of state capture.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Thursday that he believed the investigation‚ announced late on Wednesday‚ appeared to have been narrowly crafted to "create the veneer of a state capture investigation".

This‚ he said‚ would have the effect of protecting the real power brokers implicated in state capture.

Mkhwebane said a "preliminary investigation" would be conducted to determine the merits of allegations emanating from a tranche of leaked e-mails involving the Gupta family‚ government ministers and state-owned entities (SOEs). The probe would look at potential offences or unlawful enrichment related to public funds at Eskom‚ Prasa and Transnet.

"It is clear from this announcement that the preliminary investigation is far too narrow‚ and only includes cherry-picked state-owned entities‚ while ignoring the role played by Jacob Zuma‚ his Cabinet ministers‚ and the Guptas through their companies — as well as other SOEs‚" said a statement issued by Maimane.

Maimane is writing to the public protector‚ requesting a broader scope of investigation to include "every single individual‚ company and state owned entity implicated in the leaked e-mails".

They would include:

• Cabinet ministers Mosebenzi Zwane‚ Des van Rooyen‚ Malusi Gigaba‚ Lynne Brown and Faith Muthambi, and Free State Premier Ace Magashule;

• Gupta-controlled companies Sahara Computers‚ Oakbay Investments‚ Mabengela Investments‚ Zestilor‚ Tegeta Exploration and Resources‚ and Elgasolve; and

• SOEs Denel and South African Airways (SAA).

"The public protector has a duty to protect the public from the abuse of power‚ not to protect the president‚ his Cabinet ministers and the Guptas‚" said Maimane.

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