Zuma faces ANC back­lash

Sup­port mounts for Madon­sela

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - CRAIG DODDS, MOGOMOTSI MAGOME and REUTERS

WITH a back­lash gath­er­ing force within the ANC over the pros­e­cu­tion of Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han, a state­ment by the rul­ing party en­dors­ing for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s re­port on state cap­ture sent a clear mes­sage se­nior lead­ers have lost pa­tience with Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and his al­lies.

As Speaker of Par­lia­ment Baleka Mbete re­fused to safe-keep the state cap­ture re­port, say­ing she would send it back to Pretoria, the party coun­tered that the re­port would help the ANC and the coun­try “gain clar­ity on the al­le­ga­tions and point to the res­o­lu­tion of the re­ported chal­lenges”.

Last night Mbete ac­knowl­edged the rules re­quired her to ta­ble all doc­u­ments in the house with mem­bers, but said she couldn’t do so with Madon­sela’s re­port, which the North Gaut­eng High Court has said should not be made pub­lic pend­ing the court ap­pli­ca­tions by Zuma and Co-op­er­a­tive Gover­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs Min­is­ter Des van Rooyen.

Zuma and Van Rooyen launched last-ditch bids to de­lay the re­lease of the re­port while the gov­ern­ing party said it “looks for­ward to (its) imminent re­lease”, pend­ing the court de­ci­sions.

Mean­while, the rand re­versed early losses against the dol­lar yes­ter­day af­ter Gord­han branded as “frivolous” the charges against him, promis­ing in­ter­na­tional busi­ness lead­ers he was “here to stay”.

Op­po­si­tion par­ties, in­clud­ing Cope, the DA, the EFF and the UDM, joined the court case op­pos­ing Van Rooyen’s ap­pli­ca­tion to in­ter­dict Madon­sela from re­leas- ing the re­port. The EFF, through its at­tor­ney Tem­beka Ngcukaitobi, urged the court to com­pel Madon­sela to re­lease the re­port im­me­di­ately.

Zuma’s friends, the wealthy Gupta fam­ily, have been ac­cused of in­flu­enc­ing the ap­point­ment of cab­i­net min­is­ters and other se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in or­der to ben­e­fit their busi­ness con­cerns.

Zuma turned to the courts for an in­ter­dict to halt the re­lease of the re­port three days af­ter he de­manded an un­der­tak­ing from Madon­sela that she would not wrap up her in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­til he had been al­lowed to ques­tion other wit­nesses in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In the ANC state­ment yes­ter­day, spokesman Zizi Kodwa said the party had spo­ken out against state cap­ture, which amounted to “an at­tack on the char­ac­ter of the rev­o­lu­tion­ary move­ment, an at­tack on our demo­cratic state and an as­sault on the con­fi­dence our peo­ple place on our move­ment and gov­ern­ment”.

Kodwa said the pub­lic pro­tec­tor’s fi­nal re­port on the mat­ter “with its bind­ing rec­om­men­da­tions”, though sub­ject to ju­di­cial re­view, would “as­sist the ANC and South Africa to gain clar­ity on the al­le­ga­tions”.

“The ANC com­mends... Madon­sela on her com­mit­ted ser­vice to South Africa and wishes her well in her fu­ture en­deav­ours.”

DA leader Mmusi Maimane wel­comed the or­der of the North Gaut­eng High Court to pre­serve the re­port as is and keep it safe, say­ing it would en­sure it was not sub­ject to amend­ment.

“The fight for ac­count­abil­ity is not an easy one and is of­ten sub­ject to set­backs, but we are de­ter­mined to see this mat­ter through un­til the end,” he said.

“Ja­cob Zuma and those im­pli­cated in state cap­ture may have de­layed ac­count­ing for their role in un­der­min­ing the sovereignty of the state and the rule of law, but they will face the mu­sic at an ap­pro­pri­ate time.”

He said Zuma’s “house of lies and crony­ism was fall­ing apart, caus­ing him to em­ploy the most

‘Those im­pli­cated

un­cre­ative and des­per­ate of tac­tics”.

In her state­ment last night, Mbete said the re­port would be re­turned to the Of­fice of the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor.

Madon­sela, how­ever, told jour­nal­ists at her fi­nal press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day she had faith in her suc­ces­sor, Busi Mkhwe­bane.

The Of­fice of the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor’s great­est mo­ti­va­tion was re­solv­ing is­sues that couldn’t be re­solved by the courts for or­di­nary South Africans, she said.

Her en­tire ca­reer had been fo­cused on pro­tect­ing the pub­lic and be­ing an ad­vo­cate for so­cial jus­tice, said Madon­sela, but she would now take a sab­bat­i­cal.

“My in­sti­tu­tion is grossly un­der­funded. When the dust has set­tled, peo­ple will agree I did what I had to do,” she said.

On the state cap­ture in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Madon­sela said she would not cast as­per­sions on Zuma.

“All I said is that we had made ar­range­ments to meet (Zuma for the state cap­ture probe) and to pro­ceed along the lines we had agreed to and on two oc­ca­sions we didn’t pro­ceed as agreed.

“What hap­pened be­tween those two agree­ments, only the Pres­i­dency is aware.”

She noted, how­ever, that the court ac­tion by Zuma and Van Rooyen could not stop her re­leas­ing the find­ings of her probe.

“A no­tice of in­ten­tion to ap­ply for an in­ter­dict is not an in­ter­dict. I de­cided not to re­lease it be­cause that is good prac­tice.

“When per­sons have ap­plied for an in­ter­dict, it doesn’t make sense to make it im­pos­si­ble for their in­ter­dict to mat­ter.”

She added: “That is not an in­terim re­port, that is my fi­nal re­port.”

The mat­ter was post­poned in court yes­ter­day to Novem­ber 1.

Madon­sela re­ceived a stand­ing ova­tion, with Louisa Zondo, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the pub­lic pro­tec­tor, re­mark­ing that her de­par­ture was a “bit­ter-sweet mo­ment”.

Thuli Madon­sela has been com­mended by the ANC.

For­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela re­ceived a stand­ing ova­tion at her de­par­ture.

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