Zuma has applied for leave to appeal the Pretoria High Court judgment forcing him to implement former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action that he set up a commission of inquiry headed by a judge picked by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
In his application, Zuma accused the full bench of the high court of “elevating untested suspicions as fact”.
Zuma’s appeal also contradicted his last political report as ANC president at the governing party’s national elective conference last Saturday.
“The allegations made against some sections of the business community regarding the said capture of the state to advance business interests will be probed further in a judicial commission of inquiry that we committed to establish as the ANC some time ago in order to uncover the truth,” Zuma told a packed exhibition hall at the Nasrec Expo Centre.
The conference also resolved that the commission recommended by Madonsela be established immediately.
Zuma said the court was mistaken by stating that due to him being implicated in state capture he could not appoint the judge to preside over the commission.
“In appointing a commission of inquiry, the president does not determine the issues that are to be probed (as regards the outcome of such investigations and findings); the court erred in holding that the principle of recusal applies in such a process,” said Zuma.
Following the ruling, the ANC urged Zuma to implement the high court’s order that he set up an inquiry without delay.
The ANC said such a commission was in the country’s bes interest and would provide everyone an opportunity to tell their side of the story.
The DA, which was the second of three complainants in Madonsela’s state capture probe, said it was appalled by Zuma’s appeal decision.
“Jacob Zuma had once to tried to delay the remedial actions of the public protector by appealing the unanimous decision of the full bench of the high court.
“The case has no merit. He is simply trying to delay the inevitable,” said DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe.
His party would oppose the appeal and would also be seeking a punitive cost order against him, Selfe said.
Earlier this month, Zuma was ordered to pay the costs of his unsuccessful court challenge to Madonsela’s state of capture remedial action out of his own pocket.
The DA estimated these costs to be at least R6million.
Zuma’s appeal followed reports that the new ANC national executive committee (NEC) was considering recalling him but political analyst Ralph Mathekga warned it was still packed with Zuma allies.
Mathekga added the NEC may oppose new ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s programme but a realignment of loyalties could occur.
He said that even Zuma’s rumoured recall would have to be negotiated at the NEC.
The Quaker Peace Centre (QPC) , has vowed to join the fight to oppose Zuma’s appeal bid.
This was revealed by legal expert advocate Paul Hoffman when asked about Zuma’s chances of appeal. In the past, Zuma had failed several unrelated court cases on appeal, and Hoffman believed the same ruling could be made against him in his present application.
He said from a proper interpretation of sections 90 and 96, it was apparent Zuma was unable to appoint a commission of inquiry because “of the risk of a conflict of interest”.