The BBC is reporting that sources close to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela have revealed damning evidence in its investigation into state capture, implicating four-day finance minister Des van Rooyen and the Gupta family.
Van Rooyen, along with president Jacob Zuma, has applied to the courts to get an interdict blocking Madonsela from releasing the first of two reports on the matter.
According to van Rooyen, the reason he is seeking an interdict is because the Public Protector only gave him 24 hours to write up a ‘considered response’ to questions put to him, all while not giving him information on the evidence against him.
Zuma, meanwhile, is claiming that the Public Protector threatened him with an ‘adverse ruling’, should he not answer her questions in time.
Citing sources ‘close to Thuli Madonsela’, the BBC reported that the Public Protector has gathered damning cellphone evidence against van Rooyen, showing that he was at the home of the controversial Gupta family the night before former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was fired.
The Guptas are the focus of Madonsela’s investigation, as it is alleged that the family has used its personal ties to president Jacob Zuma to influence the appointment of senior officials, and to unduly benefit from state contracts.
The family has consistently denied all allegations implicating them in state capture, while challenging those with evidence to come forward and charge them in the courts.
This week, the family’s lawyers threatened Madonsela with legal action should her report implicate them.
Madonsela was to release her report on her last day in office (14 October), but has been blocked by court action around the pending interdicts. The office of the Public Protector said it was looking at its options regarding the release of the report.