JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Tuesday she wanted additional resources to investigate the wealthy Gupta family and its relationship with President Jacob Zuma, which opposition parties and other critics allege is corrupt.
Speaking to journalists, Madonsela said she was looking at “specifically whether or not the government of South Africa and specifically the president unlawfully allowed the Gupta family to choose ministers and other occupants of high office.”
The unfolding scandal around the Guptas took a dramatic turn in March after deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas said in December he was offered his boss’s job by the family, an admission that has led to calls for Zuma to resign.
Zuma denied Jonas’ claims, saying only the president appointed ministers as per the constitution. The Guptas has also denied influencing Zuma, saying they were pawns in a political plot against the president.
Madonsela has received public support in South Africa for taking Zuma to task over the 240 million rand ($16 million) of state money spent upgrading his private home.
She was vindicated in March when the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, said Zuma had breached the constitution by ignoring her recommendation that he repay some of funds spent on non-security upgrades.
($1 = 14.8209 rand)
Writing by Ed Stoddard; Editing by James Macharia