DA to request Public Protector to include Maseko revelations in Guptagate investigation
The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it will request that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela extend her investigation into President Jacob Zuma and the Guptagate scandal to include the latest “shocking revelations” by former Government Communication & Information System (GCIS) CEO‚ Themba Maseko.
The DA would also be laying criminal charges in terms of Section 4 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act‚ 2004 (Act No. 12 of 2004) against the Guptas for what now amounted to further prima facie evidence of an attempt to improperly benefit from public resources‚ said DA spokesman for communications Phumzile Van Damme.
This follows media reports on Sunday that Maseko was called by Zuma prior to a meeting with the Guptas in Saxonwold and asked to “help them”.
At the meeting it is alleged that Ajay Gupta wanted government advertising to be channelled to The New Age newspaper.
Gupta allegedly told Maseko: “…tell us where the money is and tell departments to give you money if they refuse we will deal with them. If you have a problem with any department‚ we will summon ministers here.”
Van Damme said on Sunday that Zuma’s purported involvement in this alleged attempt to improperly benefit the Gupta family was a clear violation of Paragraph 2(b) of the Executive Ethics Act by:
- Exposing himself to any situation involving the risk of a conflict between his official responsibilities and his private interests; - Using his position or any information entrusted to him‚ to enrich himself or improperly benefit any other person; and - Acting in a way that may compromise the credibility or integrity of his office or of the government
“This latest information glaringly contradicts a reply received from Minister of Communications‚ Faith Muthambi‚ to a DA parliamentary question. In the reply‚ related to adspend in The New Age‚ the Minister noted that: ‘No directive was received to spend more money on The New Age than other newspapers’.
“I will therefore be submitting further questions to the Minister and demand that she comes clean as to whether she knew about the meeting with Guptas‚ has herself met with the Guptas and received similar requests‚ or has knowledge of meetings with respect to The New Age with any other Minister.
“The DA reminds the Minister that lying in a parliamentary question is a serious offence and cannot be taken lightly‚” Van Damme stated.
“This latest information regarding Gupta attempts to channel information to their newspaper may now explain why it is that the Department of Communications spent more than R10 million on advertising in The New Age in 2013/14. This amounts to 11.2% of government ad spend across 248 publications.
“The DA will continue to pursue all possible steps available to us to ensure that this attempt at ‘State Capture’ by the Gupta family – aided and abetted by President Jacob Zuma – is halted and justice is obtained. In the end‚ it is the 8.2 million jobless South Africans who suffer while President Zuma and his friends break the law to get rich‚” Van Damme added.