Zuma coun­ters DA court bid that he flouted Thuli di­rec­tives

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS -

PRES­I­DENT Ja­cob Zuma has filed a con­di­tional counter ap­pli­ca­tion to th eD A’ s ap­pli­ca­tion in the Pre­to­ria High Court for an or­der stat­ing that he has flouted for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s di­rec­tives on in­ves­ti­gat­ing state cap­ture.

Zuma’s ap­pli­ca­tion is con­di­tional in that it ap­plies only if the court con­sid­ers, as the DA con­tends, that his le­gal chal­lenge of Madon­sela’s re­port does not ob­vi­ate the need to com­ply with the re­me­dial ac­tion.

Madon­sela or­dered that a ju­di­cial com­mis­sion of in­quiry be ap­pointed to probe her find­ings, but Zuma is op­pos­ing this on the grounds that her pre­cise in­struc­tion that the head of the in­quiry be ap­pointed by Chief Jus­tice Mo­go­eng Mo­go­eng in­ter­feres with his pres­i­den­tial pow­ers to ap­point the judge lead­ing such a probe.

The DA has ar­gued that the only way the pres­i­dent could legally not com­ply with her di­rec­tive pend­ing the re­view would be to ap­ply for a court or­der stay­ing im­ple­men­ta­tion thereof in the in­terim.

It has also asked the court to or­der Zuma to com­ply with her re­port and al­low an in­quiry to pro­ceed.

The Pres­i­dency said Zuma “has to­day, June 12, 2017, filed a con­di­tional counter-ap­pli­ca­tion in the mat­ter be­tween the DA against the pres­i­dent of Repub­lic and an­other”.

It said that ac­cord­ing to Zuma’s le­gal coun­sel, con­trary to the DA’s ap­pli­ca­tion, he may not com­ply with Madon­sela’s find­ings and re­me­dial ac­tion if there was rea­son to doubt its cor­rect­ness.

His lawyers fur­ther ad­vised that should he com­ply at this point, it would ren­der the court re­view ap­pli­ca­tion aca­demic.

“The le­gal ad­vice ob­tained by the pres­i­dent is that he is in law not en­ti­tled to just com­ply with a re­port of the pub­lic pro­tec­tor if there are rea­sons to doubt its cor­rect­ness.

“To do so will amount to a me­chan­i­cal re­sponse; this is ir­rec­on­cil­able with the logic and rights ex­er­cis­able by a per­son ad­versely af­fected by such a de­ter­mi­na­tion.

“The pres­i­dent was fur­ther ad­vised that the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the re­me­dial ac­tion in the cur­rent form would ren­der aca­demic the re­view ap­pli­ca­tion in its en­tirety.”

But if the court finds that the re­view ap­pli­ca­tion did not au­to­mat­i­cally stay the need for im­ple­men­ta­tion of Madon­sela’s re­port in the in­terim, he is seek­ing such a stay.

“The pres­i­dent has been ad­vised to bring a con­di­tional ap­pli­ca­tion so that the real dis­pute in the re­view ap­pli­ca­tion re­ceives the full at­ten­tion of the court and fur­ther de­lays are avoided.”

The re­view is set down for hear­ing in mid-Septem­ber. But the DA is lob­by­ing sup­port from other po­lit­i­cal par­ties for an ad hoc com­mit­tee to be ap­pointed in Par­lia­ment to probe all al­le­ga­tions of the Gupta fam­ily’s in­flu­ence over the pres­i­dent, min­is­ters and pub­lic en­ter­prises.

Madon­sela’s re­port was re­leased in Novem­ber. She found indi­ca­tions that the fam­ily had sought to in­flu­ence the pres­i­dent’s de­ci­sion-mak­ing and had, through close ties with, among oth­ers, for­mer Eskom boss Brian Molefe, man­aged to se­cure lu­cra­tive busi­ness deals with the state.

Zuma re­fused to re­spond to Madon­sela’s ques­tions when she tried to in­ter­view him dur­ing her in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In re­cent weeks, leaked emails of Gupta as­so­ciates have brought to the fore fur­ther al­le­ga­tions of ex­ten­sive col­lu­sion be­tween state com­pa­nies and the fam­ily.

‘Her in­struc­tion in­ter­feres with his pow­ers’

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