Public protector turns the tables on Zuma
PUBLIC Protector Busi Mkhwebane has turned the tables on President Jacob Zuma and filed court papers to support the damning “State of Capture” report of her predecessor, Thuli Madonsela.
In her application, Mkhwebane opposed Zuma’s desire to appoint a retired judge to head the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture in the country.
In her State of Capture report, Madonsela recommended that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng should appoint a retired judge, and Mkhwebane agrees.
This comes after Zuma filed court papers asking to be granted a stay of execution on the remedial action proposed by Madonsela.
Zuma’s court application came after Madonsela’s report implicated him, his family and Gupta-linked companies in the serial abuse of state funds to benefit the Guptas.
However, Zuma argued that the remedial actions should not be implemented until he had had an opportunity to clear his name of the allegations in Madonsela’s report.
But Mkhwebane disagrees. In her strongly worded counteraffidavit, the public protector said Zuma and the government had publicly expressed their support for the establishment of the commission, saying it could be established and begin its work.
“This will not preclude the courts from determining the legal question concerning the lawfulness of the remedial action,” she said.
Mkhwebane said Zuma’s application sought to retain control over various aspects of the commission’s functioning.
“Because the allegations in the report implicate him personally and financially, it is not permissible for him to do so.
“His challenge to these aspects of the remedial action has no prospect of success. It is not permissible for the subject of remedial action to disregard it because review proceedings have been launched,” Mkhwebane said.
She was adamant that remedial action must be complied with until a court had set aside, or granted, an order suspending its implementation.
“It is not in the public interest to stay the implementation of the remedial action. It is urgent that the allegations of state capture be properly investigated and determined as soon as possible,” Mkhwebane said.
In one of Zuma’s replies in Parliament on June 22, he told the National Assembly: “We have taken a decision to establish the judicial commission of inquiry, and the (Gupta) e-mails will be part of that. So we are not leaving them unattended to; then we will be able to speak about the e-mails with a serious scientific investigation which would tell us exactly what happened, and to what extent they are disrupting the life of South Africans.”
Zuma’s spokesperson, Bongani Ngqulunga, said yesterday that he was not aware of the latest court action by Mkhwebane.