Zuma can legally challenge Madonsela's findings but DA promises to fight him

2016-11-25 20:35
President Jacob Zuma (File)

President Jacob Zuma (File)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma is within his rights to challenge the remedial actions recommended by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in the State of Capture report, however, the Democratic Alliance says it will still oppose the application.

The Presidency on Friday released a statement saying that he will take Madonsela's recommendation on review.

Madonsela recommended that Zuma appoint a judicial inquiry into "state capture" and ask Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to nominate a judge to lead it.

"The president has considered and also sought legal advice on the contents of the report as well as the remedial action to be taken. The legal advice given and which advice has been accepted by the President is to take the remedial action on review," the Presidency said.

Constitutional Court expert Professor Marinus Wiechers says the recommendations are the only concrete issues Zuma can challenge.

"President Zuma is in his full right to say 'I challenge that, I don't want to be told to appoint a commission on your terms and conditions'. That is the only thing he can really challenge in court," Wiechers told News 24.

Little ground to challenge report

Wiechers says there would be very little ground to challenge the actual report, as Madonsela makes it clear that there are no findings but observations.

He explained that Madonsela said the report had to come before the recommended commission of inquiry "and then all the people with objections that they haven't been heard, her findings are false, can take those issues to the commission".

Zuma had until December 2 to establish the commission. However, he has not indicated when he will launch the application, noting that the law gives him six months from the release of the report to file a review application.

"The legal team on brief is currently working on the review application to be served and filed within the time periods prescribed by the law."

"The Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000 provides that any proceedings for judicial review must be instituted without unreasonable delay and not later than 180 days from the date that the reviewable action was concluded," the Presidency said.

Findings 'unfair'

In the report released on November 2, Madonsela recommended that Zuma "appoint, within 30 days, a commission of inquiry headed by a judge solely selected by the Chief Justice who shall provide one name to the president".

Zuma gave an indication on Wednesday that he will challenge the recommendation when he addressed the last question-and answer session for the year in the National Assembly.  He labelled the findings unfair and suggested Madonsela overstepped her powers.

"Nobody has the powers to instruct the president to establish a commission."  

"This report has been dealt with in a very funny way. Very funny in my view. It affected me and many others. No fairness at all," Zuma said.

Madonsela investigated allegations of undue influence by his friends the Gupta family on state entities. Former Cabinet spokesperson Themba Maseko directly linked Zuma to the family, telling the former Public Protector that they tried to push for government communications contracts for their media company.

DA to oppose

The Democratic Alliance says it will oppose Zuma's application.

"While President Zuma is operating within the parameters of the law by taking the State of Capture Report on judicial review, we must remember that he has a long history of using the courts, which he has no respect for, to delay being held accountable for his acts of corruption," leader Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.

Maimane says the president is buying himself time while he plots his next move in order to avoid accountability.

"We will not allow him to get out of this crisis of his own making," Maimane said.

Read more on:    public protector  |  da  |  jacob zuma  |  mmusi mai­mane  |  thuli madonsela  |  state capture report

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