JOHANNESBURG, September 29 – The North Gauteng High Court on Friday turned down the application by the Democratic Alliance (DA) to compel President Jacob Zuma to immediately implement the Public Protectors remedial action recommended in her “State of Capture” report.
Earlier in 2017, the then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela ordered that, within 30 days, Zuma must establish a judicial commission of inquiry led by a judge appointed by the chief justice. However, the President has taken her remedial action on review.
While handing down judgement, Judge Motsamai Makume said that he did not feel that it was in the interest of justice to compel Zuma to appoint commission before the review was heard. The review will be heard next month.
In his court application, Zuma said the remedial action undermined the President’s constitutional authority to institute such proceedings.
Judge Makume concluded that granting immediate implementation of the state capture inquiry could cause irreparable harm in relation to the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary.
The DA, which had argued that Zuma’s taking the matter on review did not equate to suspending it, was ordered together with the Public Proto pay costs.
Reacting to the judgement the DA said it had noted “with interest” the judgement.
“This matter has not been dismissed but has in fact been held back pending the outcome of the President’s review application, which will be heard at the end of October, where we will also be in court to continue this fight for accountability,” said James Selfe, the DA Federal Council Chairperson.
“We will study the judgement in full and continue this fight until all individuals and organisations implicated in State Capture are held accountable.”
The North Gauteng High Court ruled on Friday that it could not compel President Jacob Zuma to set up a commission of inquiry into alleged influence-peddling in his government.
The opposition Democratic Alliance had asked the court to force Zuma to establish a commission based on a report last year by an anti-graft watchdog into allegations that businessman brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta had influenced the appointment of ministers.
Zuma and the Gupta brothers have denied the accusations.
Zuma has challenged the report in court, arguing that the Public Protector had no right to ask him to form such a
commission, as this was the president’s prerogative.
“To compel the President at this stage will not only be tantamount to denying the hearing or his day in court, but it will also be understood to mean the Public Protector’s powers are unassailable irrespective of the content of the decision, that cannot be correct,” Pretoria High Court Judge Motsamai Makume said.
“It will be in the best interests of justice to grant the President a stay of the implementation of the remedial action pending a decision of the review application.”
New allegations of inappropriate collusion between state-owned companies and the Gupta brothers have put more
pressure on Zuma and ministers close to him.