Zuma, opposition in court over 'state capture' report

2016-11-01 05:59
Vytjie Mentor (Netwerk24)

Vytjie Mentor (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma, opposition parties, and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor are expected to argue over the release of the “state capture” report in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Ministers Des van Rooyen and Mosebenzi Zwane are fighting for former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report not to be released. The DA,  EFF,  UDM, and Cope are opposing their application.

Madonsela’s successor Busisiwe Mkhwebane said in her affidavit she would abide by the court’s decision as she had not had time to familiarise herself with the facts of the applications. She took office on October 17.

Madonsela investigated allegations that Zuma’s friends, the Gupta family, offered government officials, including Mentor, Cabinet posts in exchange for government tenders and other favours. The family has denied the allegations.

Madonsela was due to release the report on October 14, the last day of her seven-year term. Zuma and Van Rooyen, however, went to the high court to ask for an interdict to stop her from doing so.

Opposition parties have accused Zuma of resorting to delaying tactics. He first launched his interdict application on October 13. The matter was scheduled to be heard on October 18. He then argued that he needed more time to respond to Madonsela’s questions and to question witnesses.

It was postponed to November 1 to combine his application with Van Rooyen’s bid for an interdict.

Zuma’s lawyers asked for a further postponement to reply to Mentor’s application to intervene. The opposition parties opposed this.

Madonsela’s counsel said during court proceedings on October 14 that she had not made any adverse findings against Van Rooyen.

He withdrew his application, but 10 days later he changed his mind, saying he wanted an interdict to prevent the finalisation and publication of the report, to the extent that it contains findings and recommendations against him.

‘False sense of security’

Van Rooyen said Madonsela had lulled him into a false sense of security with her assurances. He said she never told him about or asked him to comment on a Sunday Times report implicating him in allegations that the Guptas offered him the job of finance minister in December last year.

“Newspaper reports critical of me are one thing, but a binding finding by the Public Protector is another. While I could conceivably ignore the former, I cannot ignore the latter.”

The mineral resources department said in a statement that Zwane had no option but to become involved in the matter as he had not been afforded the opportunity to answer to the allegations levelled against him.

Madonsela had been unable to confirm or deny if she had made adverse findings against him, his office said.

Former ANC MP and public enterprises committee chairperson Vytjie Mentor said on Facebook in March that the Guptas offered her the job of public enterprises minister when Barbara Hogan was sacked in 2010. This happened at the Guptas’ home in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, while Zuma was in the house. In return they wanted her to drop SAA’s route to India and give it to them.

Her allegations followed those by Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas. He said the Guptas offered him former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene’s position. This allegedly happened at a meeting facilitated by Zuma’s son Duduzane, before Nene was fired in December last year.

State capture ‘biggest threat to SA’

In court papers, Mentor said she was one of those Madonsela had interviewed.

“State capture is the greatest threat to South Africa's constitutional democracy since the end of apartheid,” she wrote.

She felt she had put her life on the line and would be directly impacted by any decision about Madonsela’s report. She was opposed to Zuma’s request to interview witnesses, which she said was meant to intimidate them.

The DA lodged its complaint about state capture with Madonsela on March 18. On October 14 it applied to join the EFF, Cope and UDM’s application to ask the court to release the report.

They argued that the report’s release would not cause Zuma irreparable harm as he would still have the option for a judicial review of Madonsela’s findings and recommendations.

Vytjie Mentor's response on Facebook after the presidency stated that Zuma had ‘no recollection’ of her.

Read more on:    vytjie mentor  |  jacob zuma  |  state capture report

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