01/06/2017 14:03 SAST | Updated 01/06/2017 14:09 SAST

The Public Protector Can't Investigate The Leaked Gupta Emails Because Of Her Huge Caseload

All Busisiwe Mkhwebane has done so far is "note" the "disturbing allegations".

The Public Protector's office may be the biggest state watchdog in the country, but it doesn't plan to do anything about the leaked Gupta emails.

So far, all Busisiwe Mkhwebane has done is "note" the "disturbing allegations".

Responding to HuffPost SA in an email on Thursday, Mkhwebane's spokesman Oupa Segalwe said the public protector is permitted by law only to investigate a matter upon receipt of a written complaint or of her own initiative.

But she will not investigate the allegations in the leaked emails of her own initiative because of her office's big caseload and case backlog.

Segalwe said Mkhwebane was not aware of any written complaint for her to investigate the allegations contained in the leaked emails.

Regarding own-initiative investigations, Segalwe said the public protector only takes action after taking the office's current caseload into account, which contains matters that have "superannuated" -- some as old as six years.

"Having said that, the public protector notes that the information contained in the emails concerned fit into the broader state capture allegations. These allegations formed part of the investigation that resulted in a report titled 'State of Capture'. That report is being challenged in court. Among the remedies stipulated in the said report is that there be a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate the alleged capture of the state," Segalwe said.

"It would be ideal if the court process could be given a chance to run its course so that it can give direction as to how the state capture matter should be dealt with. It would also be ideal for such a process to take place without delay, seeing that the whole state capture matter is already dividing the nation."

On Thursday, a series of stories by amaBhungane and Scorpio, the Daily Maverick's new investigative unit, gave explosive details into deals between the Guptas and Chinese-owned companies vying for South African contracts and how politicians and state officials assist the Guptas in these deals and the benefits they receive in return.

The allegations were made after thousands of emails leaked from within the Gupta network were leaked.