Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

The public protector has sought to clarify her comments on broadening the terms of reference of the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, saying that she wanted new complaints lodged with her office also investigated.

Busisiwe Mkhwebane said she was not calling for the commission’s terms of reference to stretch as far back as 1994.

She has proposed that allegations of state capture be split into two phases: one to deal with the issues investigated by her predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, and the second to focus on state-capture complaints lodged with the public protector’s office since the release of Madonsela’s initial report.

Mkhwebane’s clarification followed wide criticism of her statement to broaden the inquiry, following similar comments made by some of President Jacob Zuma’s backers, who wanted the commission to go as far back as 1994 and not only focus on allegations against the controversial Gupta family.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa made it clear that the
party was against the extension of the terms of reference and that these should not be "contaminated" by other issues.

On Thursday, Mkhwebane said that since the release of Madonsela’s report, her office had received several complaints of alleged state capture.

"These complaints are interrelated with issues identified as relevant for investigation in the State of Capture report and those reserved for investigation in the next phase."

Mkhwebane said her office did not have enough resources to "promptly" investigate all the allegations of state capture lodged after publication of the state capture report.

The public protector said it was stated in Madonsela’s report and confirmed by the High Court in Pretoria in 2017 that the commission must investigate all issues using the record of the investigation and the State of Capture report as a starting point.

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