South Africa’s President Zuma was put under scrutiny earlier this year on account of his relationship with wealthy business family, the Guptas. Anti-corruption watchdog, Thuli Madonsela, finally got around to questioning President Zuma for four hours last Thursday over allegations that his business friends, the Gupta family, had influenced political appointments.
Thuli Madonsela, who should end her seven-year term as Public Protector of South Africa at the end of this week, was meant to release her findings from the interrogation by Friday. President Zuma has, however, asked the anti-corruption watchdog not to report her findings until he has had a chance to question other witnesses.
The President’s office released a statement on Monday asking for confirmation from the anti-corruption watchdog office that it would not conclude the current investigation and issue any report until he was given a chance to question the witnesses involved.
The statement, which added that the President wanted to be assisted by a legal representative and that he would only testify after speaking to witnesses and reviewing any evidence that implicated him in the matter, said:
“Furthermore, the President would want to exercise his right to question some of the witnesses before responding to the written questions and adducing evidence.”
Thuli Madonsela spoke to Zuma and his lawyers behind closed doors last Thursday about the allegations but afterwards, her office said that for most of the four hours that they spoke, the president’s lawyers insisted on arguing that the probe should be deferred to her successor, Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
The caution being employed by the President’s office could be attributed to the fact that Mandolesa was the one who conducted the investigation into the $16 million state spending on Zuma’s private home.
Her findings had been upheld in the constitutional court and the president was forced to repay some of the funds.