Zuma counters DA court bid that he flouted Thuli directives
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’