(Corrects spelling of former finance minister's name in 8th
JOHANNESBURG Oct 5 South Africa's public
protector will question President Jacob Zuma this week over
allegations he was influenced by the wealthy Gupta family in
making government appointments, according to the newspaper
The Gupta family became household names in South Africa
after Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas dropped a political
bombshell earlier this year when he said they offered to secure
him his boss's job.
Zuma says the Guptas are his friends but denies they have
influenced political appointments.
"We will hear his version of events and he may have
information for us that we will need to consider against our own
findings," the public protector, Thuli Madonsela, told Business
Day in an interview published on Wednesday.
Madonsela's spokeswoman said she couldn't immediately
Presidency spokesman Bongani Majola confirmed the meeting
would take place, probably on Thursday, Business Day said.
Majola did not respond to a request for comment.
The Guptas, who moved to South Africa from India after
apartheid fell in 1994, run businesses ranging from uranium and
coal mining to media and information technology.
Madonsela has already interviewed Finance Minister Pravin
Gordhan, his predecessor, Nhlanhla Nene, and Jonas. She will
interview at least 20 other top officials and members of Zuma's
cabinet, according to local media. Her report
should be released by Oct. 14, her chief of staff told Reuters.
Madonsela, whose term as public protector ends this month,
previously received public support in South Africa for taking
Zuma to task over the spending of 240 million rand ($17 million)
of state money on upgrading his private home.
She was vindicated in March when the Constitutional Court,
the country's highest court, said Zuma had breached the
constitution by ignoring her recommendation that he repay some
money that was spent on non-security upgrades.
Zuma has since handed back some of the funds.
(Reporting by Joe Brock; Editing by Toby Chopra)