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Min­eral Re­sources Min­is­ter Mosebenzi Zwane’s call for a review of the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor’s State of Cap­ture re­port could de­lay the start of the ju­di­cial in­quiry rec­om­mended by Thuli Madon­sela. The re­port was re­leased this week, af­ter a full Bench of judges in the High Court of Pre­to­ria ruled that the re­port had to be re­leased by 5pm on Wed­nes­day.

In the re­port, Madon­sela, the for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor, stip­u­lates as re­me­dial ac­tion that Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma must ap­point a com­mis­sion of in­quiry within 30 days of the re­port’s re­lease, and that the com­mis­sion – to be headed by a judge ap­pointed by the chief jus­tice, Mo­go­eng Mo­go­eng – must com­plete its work within 180 days.

How­ever, Oupa Se­galwe, spokesper­son for the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor’s of­fice, said that should the re­port be brought be­fore the court for a review, re­me­dial ac­tion would be post­poned un­til the court made a rul­ing.

Mean­while, City Press learnt that Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma had been ad­vised to with­draw his op­po­si­tion to the re­lease of the re­port, as it would have jeop­ar­dised his chances of re­quest­ing the court for a review of the re­port – a likely sce­nario, as he too has main­tained that he had not been af­forded his pro­ce­dural rights of be­ing given enough time to re­spond.

City Press learnt that the pres­i­dent’s ad­vis­ers pointed out that should they go ahead with their op­po­si­tion in court and lose, their ar­gu­ments at review would be dis­missed.

This week­end, lawyers for the in­ter­ven­ing par­ties – the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers, the DA, Cope, United Demo­cratic Move­ment – have been hard at work on ar­gu­ments they in­tend bring­ing be­fore the court on Wed­nes­day, for a rul­ing that Zuma be held per­son­ally li­able for all le­gal fees in­curred – a fig­ure that could run into the re­gion of more than R2 mil­lion.

In hand­ing down the or­der for the re­lease of the re­port on Wed­nes­day, North Gaut­eng High Court Judge Pres­i­dent Dun­stan Mlambo said in­ter­ven­ing par­ties would have seven days to file sup­ple­men­tary af­fi­davits mak­ing a case for Zuma to pay for the court ac­tions from his own pocket. When Zuma dropped his ap­pli­ca­tion, he agreed to pay costs. But he was rep­re­sented by the state and, as a re­sult, left the state with the bill.

Mean­while, Zwane – who has close ties with the Gupta fam­ily – filed an ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion on Mon­day to have the re­lease of the re­port in­ter­dicted along­side Min­is­ter of Co­op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs Des van Rooyen’s sim­i­lar ap­pli­ca­tion, which the court dis­missed.

Zwane’s lawyer turned down the of­fer from the judges for Zwane to state his case in court on Tues­day, say­ing the case would only be ready for pre­sen­ta­tion on Novem­ber 8.

The re­lease of the re­port means that Zwane’s in­ter­dict has in ef­fect failed, but in part B of his ap­pli­ca­tion, Zwane asks for an or­der re­view­ing and set­ting aside the re­port. He ar­gues that he had not been af­forded the chance to state his case.

In the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor re­port, Zwane stands ac­cused of hav­ing helped the Gup­tas se­cure the Op­ti­mum Coal mine, pre­vi­ously owned by Glen­core, based in Switzer­land. Zwane vis­ited Glen­core’s head­quar­ters at the same time as a Gupta del­e­ga­tion, rais­ing ques­tions as to whether or not he used his po­si­tion to ex­ert un­due in­flu­ence on Glen­core’s de­ci­sion to sell to the Gupta-owned com­pany Tegeta in which Zuma’s son Dudzane has a size­able stake.

The flights alone had cost the state more than R96 000. In her re­port, Madon­sela found that Zwane “did not com­plete his travel itin­er­ary and mys­te­ri­ously ended up in Dubai”, where the Gup­tas own a home.

“Fur­ther­more, it ap­pears that an ad­di­tional flight was booked from Dubai to Jo­han­nes­burg. This amounted to ex­pen­di­ture be­ing in­curred to the amount of R96 630. If not con­tra­dicted or fully ex­plained, it ap­pears to be an in­di­ca­tion of fruit­less and waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture,” the re­port said.


THE HOT SEATS The scene in­side the Pre­to­ria High Court dur­ing pro­ceed­ings on Tues­day

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