Opposition to block Ramaphosa from receiving state capture report is ‘ill-conceived and legally untenable’

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Thabo Mtsweni said that Democracy in Action had tried on numerous occasions to engage with the commission and its chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, including at the time when the evidence against Ramaphosa was being led before the commission. Photo: File
Thabo Mtsweni said that Democracy in Action had tried on numerous occasions to engage with the commission and its chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, including at the time when the evidence against Ramaphosa was being led before the commission. Photo: File

POLITICS


The Zondo commission’s opposition to the urgent court bid to block President Cyril Ramaphosa from receiving the state capture report because he was also implicated in state capture is “ill-conceived and legally untenable”.

This is according to an answering affidavit filed earlier on Tuesday by Thabo Mtsweni of civil society group Democracy in Action in response to the commission’s opposing papers filed by the commission secretary Itumeleng Mosala on Monday.

Mtsweni also said Mosala’s submission, that Ramaphosa received the report on Friday, had “no merit” as it was contrary to the media statement Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele issued – and subsequently confirmed by the presidency on Twitter – that Ramaphosa would only receive the report on Tuesday.

Mosala stated in the commission’s reply to the application on Monday that the interdict was not urgent and that the case was moot because Ramaphosa received the electronic version of the report on Friday.

READ: Urgent interdict filed in high court to stop Ramaphosa receiving state capture report

But Mtsweni disagreed, saying: 

The mere fact that there was a delay in bringing the application cannot be construed as the fact that the urgency is self-created.

He said that Democracy in Action had tried on numerous occasions to engage with the commission and its chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, including at the time when the evidence against Ramaphosa was being led before the commission.

He said that “the delay in instituting the proceedings does not mean that the matter is not urgent, as in this case [the civil society group] tried all means necessary to engage the [commission] and [Zondo] but with no success”.

On January 16 2021, said Mtsweni, the group wrote to Zondo and indicated that Ramaphosa “needs to be invited to answer to the allegations that were levelled against him during commission proceedings by some of the witnesses and that [he] was no longer suitable person to receive the report”.

Zondo never responded to that, and to another follow up letter repeating that Ramaphosa was “not the desired person to receive the report as he was implicated by some of the witnesses who gave evidence before the commission”.

He said the urgent application was triggered by Gungubele’s announcement that the report would be delivered to Ramaphosa on Tuesday.

READ: Zondo to deliver first state capture report on Tuesday

“It is the applicant’s contention that the urgency of this application is not self-created, as the applicant tried on number of occasions to engage with the commission in regard to the suitability of [Ramaphosa] to receive the report, but with no success.

“The applicant contends that even if the court were to find that the first part of the report was handed over [to Ramaphosa], that does not render this application moot as there are still some parts that have not been handed over.”

On Monday Mosala said any claimed urgency was self-created and “it is an abuse of this court’s processes”.

He said the applicants could have lodged their interdict last September and again last month when the commission sought an extension of the date to hand over the report to Ramaphosa.

“The president is the only person who is entitled to receive the report. He is not receiving it as a party to the commission’s proceedings, but as head of state. He is entitled to receive the report in that capacity, by law,” said Mosala.

In fact, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report specifically required the report to be submitted to the president.

He said: 

These binding remedial actions have never been altered. The applicant knew about this from October 14 2016 when the report was published.

Also, the applicants knew about the president’s alleged implication in state capture in March 2019, January last year and when Ramaphosa gave evidence, at which the allegations against him were canvassed, in August last year.

In its application on Monday, Democracy in Action said Ramaphosa served as the country’s deputy president between 2014 and 2018 and that these years formed part of the state capture commission’s investigation. He was also the head of the ANC’s deployment committee and was responsible for the appointment of some of the leaders of state-owned enterprises, who were central to the commission’s investigation.

Mtsweni added that Ramaphosa was the leader of government business as deputy to former president Jacob Zuma and served on the inter-ministerial committee of Eskom’s war room.

“There is evidence that was led before the commission that he [Ramaphosa] was a shareholder at Glencore which is a contractor to Eskom and was central to the state capture commission evidence that was led.”

In addition, “there was evidence that was led before the commission that [Ramaphosa’s] son had allegedly received money from Bosasa, which money was allegedly used in [Ramaphosa’s] election campaign and Bosasa is central to the evidence that was led”.

READ: Tutu did not spare Mbeki or Zuma

Madonsela compiled a report on allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the public sector in 2016. Madonsela also recommended the creation of a judicial commission of inquiry.

She also recommended that Zuma should not appoint the judge to preside over the commission but that the Chief Justice do so. Zuma took the remedial actions on review but lost.

The high court then ruled that “there is no reason why the recusal principle should not apply to the president [and] the principle of recusal applies here because the president has an official duty to select a judge to lead the commission, but he is conflicted, as he himself has been personally implicated, whether directly or indirectly, through his family and associates in allegations of state capture”.


facebook
twitter
linkedin
instagram

Setumo Stone 

Political Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
Setumo.Stone@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24

E-Editions

Read the digital editions of City Press here.
Read now
Voting Booth
According to a letter Health Minister Joe Phaahla sent to MECs, the country is ready to get rid of masks in public as a health protocol. Is it time to go maskless?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
About time
68% - 53 votes
No
32% - 25 votes
Vote