Senior legal eagle applies to join Zondo Commission
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Durban - SENIOR advocate Vuyani Ngalwana SC has filed an application to the Constitutional Court to be admitted as a Friend of the Court in the matter between the State Capture Commission and former president Jacob Zuma.
In his affidavit attached to the application dated December 17, Ngalwana, a member of the Pan African Bar Association of SA, submitted that he took leadership seriously and subscribed to the “shrill” impatient call of leadership: “If not me, then who”.
“It is this call that I answer when I see what I consider a leadership vacuum characterised by the most obvious questions of accountability not being taken at the right forum. My loyalty lies with the Constitution and not natural persons. Mine is thus not a veiled opposition to the relief sought by the Commission against Mr Zuma. It is in fact an attempt at implementing it in the public interest,” reads the affidavit.
“I seek leave to intervene in these proceedings and make written and/or oral submissions in relation to the commission’s investigation into allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the public sector, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and other organs of state,” said Ngalwana in the affidavit.
“I sought, on December 14, to secure the written consent of both parties but had not yet received a response at the time of filing this application. I make this request to be admitted as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in this matter in good faith, with a clear conscience and in the public interest,” he said.
An employee in the Concourt Registrar’s office said they had the application but the outcome depended on the Chief Justice. She said they would not know until the Chief Justice decided and gave a directive. The applicant is the first to be informed of the outcome before the matter is made public.
“We can only make contact with the applicant once we receive a directive from the Chief Justice,” she said.
Ngalwana said his application was informed by his assessment that the country was going to ruin while organs of state established to protect and promote the Constitution –“ and Fourth Estate curiously” – fail to ask critical questions of elected public representatives and senior officials employed in SOEs who seem to be overlooked for scrutiny and who seem to have much to answer for in relation to the work of what is colloquially known as the State Capture Commission.
“I want to make this absolutely clear, so that there is hopefully no debate or uncertainty about it. As should be clear from the terms of my request, I am not motivated by any desire to take up the cudgels for Mr Zuma in his skirmishes with the State Capture Commission. In fact, I believe that his unauthorised departure from the commission during his last appearance on November 19, 2020 was, at best, discourteous to the chair of the commission. So, I make this application not out of sympathy for Mr Zuma or in support of his cause,” reads the affidavit.
Ngalwana also submitted that he had no sympathy with the commission in relation to the move to bring a court application to compel Zuma to answer questions put to him by the evidence leaders and the chair of the commission.
“I say so because the commission has – from what I have observed and in my respectful submission – not been even-handed in its treatment of witnesses,” he said.
Last month, Ngalwana reportedly called for Chief Justice Zondo to invite President Cyril Ramaphosa and some of his Cabinet members to account for what has been dubbed “nine wasted years” under former president Zuma.
Yesterday, Ngalwana told the Daily News that he had not heard from the Concourt since his application.
“The commission (as far as I know) has not opposed my application. I'm currently preparing my heads of argument which I hope to file tomorrow (Wednesday) – even though these are usually filed after the Concourt has given directions on a date for filing. I'm taking that decision off their hands. They are, of course, free to ignore my heads by a subsequent decision not to admit me,” he said.
Xolani Dube, a senior researcher at the Xubera Institute for Research and Development, said the commission was to prove that Zuma and the Guptas had captured the state.
“That’s the posture of the commission. It is just another plot to discredit a certain faction of the ANC. We can’t keep on dilly-dallying making ourselves look stupid in the process,” Dube said.