Zuma faces ANC backlash
Support mounts for Madonsela
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
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.