President Jacob Zuma. File picture: Dumisani Sibeko
President Jacob Zuma. File picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Zuma: State capture report unlawful

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Oct 31, 2016

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Pretoria - The Public Protector’s report into state capture is unlawful and should not ever be made public.

This forms part of President Jacob Zuma’s latest bid to stop publication of the report.

In a supplementary affidavit signed on Saturday, Zuma gave notice that he was going to ask the court for permission to amend his application.

He previously stated that he would ask the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Tuesday to interdict the office of the public protector from publishing what he at the time believed to be an interim report.

This was until he had sufficient time to provide meaningful input into the investigation.

Zuma said that now there is confimation that it was a final report, he wanted it to be declared unlawful.

The report deals with complaints of improper and unethical conduct by the president and officials of state organs owing to their alleged inappropriate relationship with members of the wealthy Gupta family.

But in the latest development in the saga, he said he would ask the court to rule that the conduct of the public protector in finalising the report be declared unlawful.

He said in an affidavit that the public protector said the report was final while knowing that he did not have the time nor the opportunity to be heard and to provide any meaningful input into the investigation.

He wants the new Public Protector, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to provide him with all the evidence adverse to him so that he could effectively exercise his rights in terms of the Public Protector Act.

He also wants to pose questions to the witnesses former public protector advocate Thuli Madonsela had consulted in reaching her findings in her report. Zuma also requires a “reasonable opportunity” to provide answers to questions posed to him earlier this month by Madonsela in connection with the findings in the report.

Zuma said in his affidavit that he simply did not have time to answer Madonsela earlier this month. He did not know that the report was subsequently made final.

Zuma said apart from the fact that he did not have sufficient time earlier to provide answers to questions posed to him by the public protector, he was also frustrated by that office as he was not provided with the necessary information to enable him to exercise his rights.

“If the process leading to the finalisation of the report was compromised, then it cannot be known with certainty what course the process might have taken had the procedural requirements been properly observed.

“The respondents (public protector and its office) have also stated that there is a huge public interest in the report and therefore the report was required to be completed expeditiously.

“However, I am advised that the seriousness of the complaint and the public interest in ensuring the relevant persons are exposed and held accountable for their actions, cannot justify an adverse finding if the evidence is insufficient.”

Zuma said the procedural requirements laid down by the law had been infringed and therefore the final report was unlawful.

He said only after he was allowed to offer his input could the public protector consider the new information provided and finalise the report. “This would then constitute a lawful report.”

The application is set down to be heard before a full bench (three judges) on Tuesday. It is believed that Judge President Dunstan Mlambo will be one of the judges.

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Pretoria News

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