State Capture Inquiry - Mkhwebane Reacts, Raising More Questions Than Answers

President Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma relents on inquiry into South African state capture

South African President Jacob Zuma said he would appoint a commission of inquiry into allegations that the Gupta family was allowed to influence state decisions and that he would abide by a court ruling for the Chief Justice to select its leader.

Mkhwebane, a former State Security Agency (SSA) employee, offered Zuma her assistance in developing the terms of reference for Deputy Chief Justice Ray Zondo's inquiry into state capture, adding that it should not be limited to the issues investigated or identified by Madonsela's probe.

Corruption allegations have tarnished Zuma's image as well as eroded his support base and he was ordered last month to appoint a judicial inquiry into the alleged graft within 30 days.

The announcement has sparked comments and conversation on Twitter. He said he was taking legal advice about whether to appeal the High Court order. Zuma didn't say who the commission's other members will be.

"I am concerned that this matter has occupied the public mind for some time now and deserves urgent attention", Zuma said in the statement on the establishment of the inquiry.

"Having perused some of the evidence at her disposal and [in the] public domain, the public protector also calls upon the president to ensure that the terms of reference are broad enough to include the capture of all state institutions and SOEs [state-owned entities]", she said.

Zuma had challenged the right of the Public Protector to call for a judicial inquiry and the appointment by the chief justice of a judge to head it, saying it was the president's prerogative whether to set up such an inquiry. "I have chose to appoint a commission of inquiry".

"The allegations that the state has been wrestled out of the hands of its real owners, the people of South Africa, is of paramount importance and are therefore deserving of finality and certainty", Tuesday's statement said.

There has been much speculation that the party might try to force Mr Zuma out as president, now that he is no longer leader of the party.

In power since 2009, Zuma stepped down in December as president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party after a 10-year tenure marked by numerous court judgements against him.

Major fire at car recycling plant brought under control
Catholic Groups Decry End Of Immigration Protection For Salvadorans