Public Protector candidate allegedly has ties with Guptas

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At least one of the candidates who were nominated for the position of Public Protector allegedly has ties with the controversial Gupta family.

This is one of a number of “skeletons” unearthed by Corruption Watch in its public input on candidates for the new Public Protector post.

Corruption Watch’s submission follows days after current Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela announced her office will proceed with the investigation into alleged state capture and the Gupta family.

Madonsela’s term will come to an end in October, which means the new Public Protector will thus be steering this investigation.

As part of its Bua Mzansi awareness campaign, Corruption Watch did background checks on the candidates and supplied the ad hoc committee with, among other things, information on whether they have suitable qualifications and aspects of professional conduct that may assist the committee in their task.

Friday was the last day for objections and input from the public – and input from more than 100 individuals and organisations were received.

Linda Mabaso, a lawyer and one of the 59 candidates, does meet the formal requirements set out in Corruption Watch’s checklist.

However, the devil could be in the detail as her son was a business partner of the Guptas’ long-time associate, Salim Essa.

Mabaso’s son, Malcolm, was reportedly a director with Essa in a company but resigned last year before he took up a position as Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane’s political advisor. He is 33 years old.

Zwane himself reportedly has questionable ties with the Guptas dating back to his time as MEC of agriculture in the Free State. He has denied his Gupta links.

According to Linda Mabaso’s CV she is chairperson of the Transnet board as well as of the Transnet Pension Fund.

It’s unclear whether Mabaso nominated herself or was nominated by someone else. Her nomination was among those that sent on time, but received after the closing date.

Members of the ad hoc committee to nominate a person for appointment of Public Protector will on Wednesday decide how these nominations will be dealt with.

Quite a few other candidates have political ties which may raise eyebrows.

Pumeza Futshane, chief prosecutor in the South Gauteng division of the High Court who nominated herself for the position of Public Protector, is married to Andrew Chauke, South Gauteng director of public prosecutions.

Chauke was named together with Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba in the Freedom Under Law’s case to have Jiba suspended and in which the judge questioned their impartiality.

Futshane has been in the news herself regarding allegations that she supposedly victimised other prosecutors in the National Prosecuting Authority.

The committee is expected to convene on Wednesday.

Controversial ties that may raise eyebrows

Advocate Godfrey Lebeya, former deputy national commissioner of the SAPS’ crime detection unit, has been linked to prominent controversial figures.

He was a witness in the case against suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli who was accused of the murder of Oupa Ramogibe, in what was described as a love triangle at the time.

According to Corruption Watch Lebeya asked after the trial that statements allegedly wrongly attributed to him be corrected as it suggested that he was part of a movement to get rid of Mdluli.

Another candidate, Sophy Noko, director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal, stopped various high-profile prosecutions, according to Corruption Watch. She among others stopped the prosecution of Thoshan Panday, a KwaZulu-Natal business man who allegedly tried to bribe the provincial head of the Hawks, Major General Johan Booysen, to make a case of fraud against him disappear. Panday has also been in the news because of his ties to the Zuma family and reports indicate that Noko is a Jiba ally.

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