Investigation into Gupta Waterkloof landing was thorough and complete - Madonsela

Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has revealed that the groundwork for her investigation into the Gupta Waterkloof landing had been completed with the report still to be written up.

Speaking on Radio 702 with Eusebius McKaiser on Wednesday, Madonsela said she was surprised when a public protector spokesperson announced there was no investigation into the Gupta landing.

She told McKaiser: "The report was incomplete [but] the investigation was fully done, we got footage of what happened in the radio dialogue between the person at the Waterkloof base and the person who spoke to them, which was in this particular case, Mr [Brian] Koloane."

"We needed to answer the question as to what were the fault lines in that system that allowed this to happen and what needed to happen going forward to ensure this never happens again."

She added they had a thorough understanding of what happened and who was in the wrong, but recommendations had not yet been made because her term of office had concluded.

When she left office, she said her and Mkhwebane had a meeting to discuss the investigation.

"We did have a sit down… but it wasn't enough time and we both agreed to have a meeting the following week."

However, both became very busy.

"I have emails between me and her thereafter that suggested that at that stage she was no longer interested to meet."

"She had indicated to me that when she was no longer busy, she would love to meet, and I am available even now if she wants to meet."

Madonsela added that while there is a need for openness and accountability, Mkhwebane's decision to not publicly state her decisions was not a dereliction of duty and that the public protector is free to make their own decisions if they have a valid reason to do so.

On Mkhwebane's fitness to be in office she said "Parliament has a right and duty to hold anyone who reports to Parliament accountable but that right should not be abused".

"I would say that legally being taken on review does not mean you are not fit for office, each case must be taken on its own merits. My comments have to take into account that I am the predecessor," she added.

This week, Madonsela raised questions regarding Mkhwebane’s decision to scrap the investigation into the justice cluster’s probe of the Gupta Waterkloof landing.

The public protector’s investigation related to Lieutenant-Colonel Christine Anderson’s complaint that the probe was irregular.

In 2013 a Gupta private plane landed at Waterkloof Air Force Base carrying about 200 guests who were to attend a lavish wedding at Sun City. The landing was said to be the beginning of the public’s exposure to state capture and the Gupta-Zuma relationship.

The Justice, Crimes, Prevention Security (JCPS) cluster probe found Bruce Koloane, the ambassador to the Netherlands, as well as Anderson responsible for irregularly obtaining permission for the landing. Once Anderson laid a complaint with the public protector, charges against her were dropped.

Koloane become the "fall guy" and pleaded guilty to all charges. He, and others involved in the scandal were later promoted to various positions.