President Jacob Zuma File picture: Sumaya Hisham/EPA
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has denied he is blocking attempts to set up a Commission of Inquiry into state capture, saying he would not be able to establish such a commission until the litigation process has been concluded.

Zuma has challenged the State of Capture report by former public protector Thuli Madonsela in court.

Following another release of the report on state capture by academics from four institutions, Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel also lashed out at state capture.

Zuma said on Friday that there were many irregularities in Madonsela’s report and he would not able to set up a commission of inquiry until the court has clarified these issues.

Zuma’s spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said the president was not opposed to the establishment of the commission of inquiry as directed. However, he has objected to some of the recommendations.

“The president is of the view that some of the remedial actions as directed by the public protector are irregular, unlawful and unconstitutional,” said Ngqulunga.

“Legal advice obtained pointed to the fact that the remedial action on the appointment of a commission of inquiry undermines the separation-of-powers doctrine.

“The constitution gives the power to appoint a commission of inquiry to the president, which she/ he must exercise when the president holds a view that a matter of public concern requires such a process.”

In her report, Madonsela set out the terms for Zuma in appointing the commission of inquiry. This included the president asking Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to appoint a judge who would head the inquiry.

These were the decisions Zuma is challenging in court. In his budget vote speech in Parliament, Patel spoke out against state capture. He said there were concerns of state capture by various individuals.

“When there are real and legitimate concerns about corruption and state capture, about the diversion of people’s money to improperly benefit individuals, our ability to forge a partnership between the state and the rest of society is seriously undermined,” said Patel.

In their report, titled “Betrayal of the Promise: How South Africa is being stolen”, the academics warned that there was a shadow state that was firmly in charge of South Africa, maintaining a tight grip on the levers of power.

The report said institutions including state-owned entities (SOEs), the criminal justice system and the intelligence services had been doing the bidding for the shadow state, which had effectively replaced the democratic state and its institutions.

It said the Zuma-Gupta family network had been dispensing patronage, controlling SOEs and procurement worth billions of rand since 2010.

Key figures who did not comply with instructions were removed from cabinet, state institutions, government, police and intelligence services and SOEs in favour of loyalists it said. The report also said the rot had run so deep that the network controls almost all the levers of powers.

Political Bureau