'I was trying to protect state capture inquiry' – Zuma on challenging Madonsela's report

2018-12-19 12:31
Former president Jacob Zuma in court. (File, Netwerk24)

Former president Jacob Zuma in court. (File, Netwerk24)

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Former president Jacob Zuma claims in court papers that his challenging of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report into state capture was merely to safeguard the inquiry itself, Business Day reported. 

The paper wrote on Wednesday that Zuma sought to challenge the report, which recommended that allegations of state capture by those close to Zuma be investigated, to "safeguard the integrity of that very inquiry" and not to protect himself.

"Such an important commission would have been tarnished with legal and constitutional uncertainties," Business Day quotes Zuma as having said in the court papers.

"It was therefore important for me to be sure that the Public Protector's directives could pass constitutional muster – for the integrity of the commission of inquiry depended on the constitutional findings," Zuma reportedly says. 

Zuma was dealt a heavy blow by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria at the end of last year.

In a landmark judgment by a full Bench of the court, Zuma's review of the recommended remedial action by Madonsela in her report on state capture was dismissed with costs.

Zuma lambasted for abusing judicial process

Zuma was directed to appoint a commission of inquiry within 30 days. The court ordered that the inquiry be headed by a judge chosen by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. This was in line with the remedial action set out by Madonsela.

READ MORE: Zuma appoints state capture commission, to be headed by deputy chief justice

The judgment, handed down by Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, lambasted Zuma for abusing the judicial process.

"None of the grounds of review (in Zuma's application) have any merit and the president is not entitled to the relief that he seeks. The remedial action taken by the Public Protector is lawful, reasonable, rational and appropriate."

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is currently heading the commission.

The commission has, since its inception, heard damning testimony from high-placed officials, including Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, concerning the looting of state-owned enterprises and the capture of the state by the infamous Gupta family, who are close friends of Zuma's.

The commission will sit again in 2019.

On November 9, Zuma lost his application for leave to appeal a judgment that said he should pay the costs of reviewing Madonsela's remedial action for the institution of the state capture inquiry.

A full Bench of the North Gauteng High Court issued the correspondence.

Zuma was also refused leave to appeal. He will pay in his personal capacity.

Zuma had instructed his lawyers in December 2017 to file an application for leave to appeal the ruling ordering him to set up a commission of inquiry into state capture.

The former president was appealing specifically that he be held personally responsible for the legal costs.

Zuma thought the court erred by holding him personally liable for the legal costs, as he was not cited in his personal capacity or given an opportunity to explain his conduct to decide on a punitive ruling.

Read more on:    thuli madon­sela  |  jacob zuma  |  state capture inquiry  |  courts  |  state capture

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