Following the Gupta family allegations in relationship with South African President, Jacob Zuma, the president plans to appoint a commission of inquiry that would abide by a court ruling for the Chief Justice to select its leader.
Accusations meted against Zuma are that he permitted members of the Indian-born Gupta family to wield undue influence in matters of the state. According to the deputy finance minister “he was offered the job of finance minister by one of them”.
The family is accused of having enormous political influence in South Africa, with critics alleging that the Guptas are trying to “capture the state” to advance its business interests.
Zuma argues that he alone can set up the commission, but the High Court rejected his arguments ordering him to pay the cost of the case. While taking legal advice on the issue, the president has appealed the cost order and the judgment regarding the duties of the president to appoint commissions.
“I am concerned that this matter has occupied the public mind for some time now and deserves urgent attention,” Zuma said. “The allegations that the state has been wrestled out of the hands of its real owners, the people of South Africa, is of paramount importance and are therefore deserving of finality and certainty.”
Arguments are that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is in the best position to appoint members of the commission because Jacob Zuma has a conflicting interest.
According to head of the main opposition Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, “The commission is a step towards ridding the country of corruption, it must be properly staffed, fully funded and free from all political inference and must do its work without delay”.
Inquiry into allegations that the Guptas may have influenced the appointment of cabinet members in Zuma’s administration and received special treatment for a coal business linked to the family and one of the president’s sons are on-going. However, Zuma and the Guptas have denied wrongdoing.