Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is sitting on at least four separate investigation reports involving the Gupta family, having kept them under wraps for the eight months since she took office, according to a report by the Sunday Times.
Mkhwebane’s spokeswoman, Cleopatra Mosene, confirmed the existence of the reports to the Sunday Times, but noted that the investigations were pending and not “buried”.
According to the report the probes include a draft report on the illegal landing of Gupta wedding guests at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in 2013; three separate investigations into the New Age newspaper; and a report on the close relationship between the Gupta family and several influential politicians after a complaint by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.
Mkhwebane’s predecessor Thuli Madonsela declined to comment on the issue of reports not being released, stating that a commission of inquiry would have to be held to deal with the matter.
However, legal expert Phephelaphi Dube, a director at the Centre for Constitutional Rights, said there were no legal grounds for the protector to keep the findings of any report to herself once an investigation had been conducted.
“The overwhelming public interest in matters involving maladministration by the state or state-owned enterprises overrides whatever entitlement the public protector may have to hold onto any report,” she said.
On Thursday, Mkhwebane’s office announced that it would begin another preliminary investigation into claims of state capture, focusing on Eskom, Transnet and Prasa.
The investigation appears to be spurred by the leak of over 100,000 Gupta emails, which contains damning information, showing how the Gupta family used their political influence to secure lucrative state contracts and manipulate state institutions.
You can read the full story in today’s edition of the Sunday Times.