Zuma on state capture report: No one can tell me to establish a commission

2016-11-23 18:44
President Jacob Zuma. (File, Netwerk24)

President Jacob Zuma. (File, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – No one can instruct the president to establish a commission, or detail the steps of how it should be done, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.

The president insisted that he did not mislead anyone in the build-up to the release of the State of Capture report.

The president was speaking during his last question-and-answer session in the National Assembly this year. He was responding to a question about why he misled Parliament when he told the National Council of Provinces that he interdicted former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report because she had not given him the questions.

He detailed the events leading to his meeting with Madonsela and insisted that he had not been given enough time to respond to the questions.

"That report was done in a funny way, no fairness at all. You heard me telling my story, how I was treated in the process of this report," he said.

He said in his view the report affected him and many others.

"We would want that work to be done properly. And that's why we are working on it. I can't then jump when I have these views to establish a commission."

Zuma then questioned the authority of Madonsela's recommendation which calls for the establishment of a judicial commission to investigate allegations detailed in her State of Capture report.

EFF boycott

"It is the president who has a right to appoint a commission. No one, no matter what position they hold, can instruct the president to establish a commission and even tell the process through which it must go. It's very funny, I've never heard of it. That's a problem we are faced with in regard to this report," he told MPs.

On whether he instructed ministers Des Van Rooyen and Mosebenzi Zwane to interdict the release of the report, Zuma said they did not need permission from him to exercise their constitutional rights.

He again said he had not had a chance to look at the questions properly and even though they pertained to issues he had dealt with publicly, the situation was different.

"When a journalist or a friend asks you, it's different. When a judge or Public Protector asks there are going to be findings."

He faced a number of questions including some about fees protests, ratings downgrades and Brexit.

It was the first time this year that the president had appeared in the National Assembly without much incident after the Economic Freedom Fighters decided to boycott the event. 

The party said it did not recognise Zuma as the president of the country.

Its absence was not a sign of cowardice, it said in a statement. 


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