South Africa’s Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has got grit, determination and, above all, bravery.
She has promised a parting gift before she leaves office soon: a report on the controversial Gupta family – the rich Indian brothers whose names pop up regularly amid the stench of state capture and financial irregularity.
Madonsela is the woman who lifted the lid on the details of how President Jacob Zuma had allowed more than R200m in taxpayers’ money to be spent on refurbishing his homestead, Nkandla.
The Gupta brothers – Ajay, Atul and Rajesh (Tony) – are believed to wield enormous influence on Zuma. There is a big question mark over the source of their wealth, as they arrived in South Africa as relatively small business players.
Madonsela says she might not have all the Ts crossed and the Is dotted by the time she has to step down, but she will have a report available on what her investigations so far have indicated about the involvement of the Gupta family in state business.
The Guptas and Nazeem Howa, CEO of Oakbay Investments, have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing by the family, so the news that Madonsela will clear up some of the discrepancies will presumably come as a relief to them – and Zuma’s family.
In the meantime, others who are convinced that the rot runs deep will be pinning their hopes on the possibility that action against Zuma will follow the report, including Zuma’s departure as president, so that finally South Africans can get on with building the economy for the national good.