Zuma withdrawal catches Public Protector's office by surprise

2016-11-02 11:26

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Cape Town - The Public Protector's office appeared to have been caught by surprise by President Jacob Zuma's withdrawal of a court application for an interdict against the immediate release of the so-called ''state capture'' report on Wednesday.

Spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said he had just seen the latest developments and would have to first consult with the new Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane before responding.

Mkhwebane's first weeks on the job after taking over from her predecessor Thuli Madonsela on October 17 have been overshadowed by Zuma's application to stop the release of the report on the grounds that he was not given a chance to respond properly before it was made public.

However, Madonsela had said Zuma had been given copies of information passed on to her, and had been given a chance to respond.

The instruction by Zuma to withdraw the application was conveyed in the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Probe

Zuma faced a probe of state capture and violation of the Executive Ethics Act after allegations by Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and former MP Vytjie Mentor that the wealthy Gupta family had offered them Cabinet jobs.

Mcebisi claimed to have been offered the job of finance minister, and Mentor public enterprises.

On Tuesday the court ruled that Co-operative Governance Minister Des Van Rooyen's application to also interdict the release of the report was not urgent.

He was finance minister for four days in December and he and previous Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's positions were swopped after an outcry over Van Rooyen's appointment as head of the public purse.

There have been allegations that his appointment as finance minister was driven by the Guptas.

The Guptas have denied all the state-capture allegations levelled at them.

On her last day in the position, Madonsela was supposed to have released the report on what has been dubbed ''state capture'' but Zuma indicated his intention to apply for the interdict.

It was not released as planned, and was put under lock and key for the handover weekend ahead of Mkhwebane starting on that Monday.

At the time, two conflicted statements were also issued from Parliament - one saying they would not accept the report, and a later one chiding the author of the first statement, and saying that Parliament would keep it safe as requested.

Mkhwebane said she would have to wait for the court process to conclude before releasing it.

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