Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has treated the office of the Public Protector with contempt by failing to comply with the Chapter 9 institution's remedial action, the Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday.
Speaking to the African News Agency (ANA) at the High Court in Pretoria, DA Federal Council chairperson James Selfe said when the court proceedings start, the official opposition will argue that Zuma must be found to have breached his constitutional duties.
"The president has not fulfilled that remedial action [prescribed by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in October last year], we believe that he is in contempt of the Public Protector and he has not fulfilled his constitutional obligations. It becomes very clear from the Nkandla case that, unless and until a report of the Public Protector is reviewed and set aside, it is obligatory for an organ of State to carry out what is ordered," said Selfe.
"We want this court to order the president to appoint a commission of inquiry and to find that he is in breach of his constitutional duties."
Before 10am, numerous senior counsel were filing into the courtroom, ahead of a session where the high court will hear Zuma’s counter-application against the DA's case to force him to establish the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into allegations of state capture.
Madonsela recommended that Zuma appoint a commission of inquiry headed by a judge. The DA approached the court, requesting it to declare that Zuma had failed to comply with the Public Protector’s remedial action.
Zuma has taken Madonsela’s “State of Capture” report, which shed light notably on Eskom’s dealings with the Gupta family, on review because he differs with her directive that a commission of inquiry, headed by a judge appointed by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, be appointed to further probe the funnelling of state resources to politically connected businessmen.
Madonsela gave Zuma 30 days to appoint the commission of inquiry, and the DA has gone to court to force him to implement the remedial action. But the president argues that the Constitution gives him alone the right to appoint the head of a judicial commission of inquiry.
In June, Zuma responded to the DA’s court application with a counter application for a stay on implementing Madonsela’s report pending the outcome of the review, if necessary.
In his arguments for a review, he states that he was not compelled to comply with a report of the Public Protector if he had cause to doubt its correctness.