Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and president Jacob Zuma © Elmond Jiyane/GCIS
Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and president Jacob Zuma © Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Watchdog to probe corruption claims at South African state enterprises

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
15 June 2017

South Africa’s public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has announced an investigation into allegations of corruption at state-owned enterprises.

The investigation comes after emails leaked to the media showed improper contact between Gupta family and public officials at Eskom, the Passenger Rail Authority of South Africa (PRASA) and Transnet.

The Guptas formed a central part of a report by the public protector into “state capture” published at the end of 2016, which called for a commission of inquiry into allegations they had been involved in the appointment of ministers and had benefited from the award of contracts. The public protector said this report had been “taken on judicial review” by president Jacob Zuma.

“The public protector South Africa has decided to conduct a preliminary investigation for the purpose of determining the merits of several allegations published in the media,” said the public protector’s spokesperson.

The public protector said the allegations included offences under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 2004 and “improper or unlawful enrichment, or receipt of improper advantage, or promise of such enrichment or advantage, by certain public officials at Eskom, PRASA and Transnet”.

The allegations include the channelling of contracts at Eskom to family connections, tender irregularities at PRASA and a R5.3bn “kickback agreement” at Transnet concerning the purchase of locomotives.

In a statement the ANC said: “The ANC has always maintained the need to establish the veracity of the emails and consequently the merits of the allegations contained therein.

“We trust that the investigation will shed some much needed light on the disturbing allegations which, if left unattended, have the effect of undermining the integrity and credibility of our government and state.

“Corruption and impropriety as it relates to public funds and resources is an untenable cancer that must be rooted out in our society. The ANC has full confidence in the institutions established to support our democracy as well as in the institutional framework government is constantly strengthening to fight corruption.”

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