South African investigator questions Zuma for last time

Posted October 07, 2016

"For the greater part of the four-hour meeting, the President's legal representative argued that the investigation be deferred to the incoming Public Protector, who he advised had been announced today, on the grounds that there wasn't enough time to conclude the matter properly and that there was no reason for the investigation to be prioritised", Masibi said in a statement.

"If the report finds serious wrongdoing by the president, it will be extremely damaging and will embolden his opponents inside and outside the ruling party", said Prince Mashele, analyst at the Centre for Politics and Research. Zuma appointed Mkhwebane as the new public protector for a seven-year term, with effect from October 15.

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Madonsela faced harsh criticism from ruling party factions after the release of her 2014 report that said Zuma benefited inappropriately from state spending on his home, and anonymous accusations that she is a Central Intelligence Agency spy have persisted until recently.

Deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas said in March that the Guptas, who are in business with Zuma's son, offered him the post of finance minister.

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President Zuma's legal team and the public protector agreed that the president would answer a set of questions through an affidavit and meet with the public protector again to clarify outstanding issues. "We must seize the moment and save South Africa".

The probe is viewed by African National Congress leaders critical of Zuma as a last-ditch attempt to rein him in and neutralize the influence of the Gupta family after an ANC attempt to investigate the same thing failed dismally. She will interview at least 20 other top officials and members of Zuma's cabinet, according to local media.

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Mkhwebane was selected from over 60 candidates nominated by South Africans. Her supporters say she has been the target of a smear campaign.