Picture: Wikus De Wet/AFP
Cape Town - The Economic Freedom Fighters said in a statement on Saturday it welcomed President Jacob Zuma's appeal against a high court judgement which dismissed his application against the chief justice appointing a judge to chair a commission of inquiry into state capture, as long as he pays out of his own pocket.

"The EFF welcomes Zuma's appeal of the high court judgment that he must appoint the judge selected by the chief justice," EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said.

"We welcome this as his democratic right only taking solace in the fact that he will incur the legal costs personally. As long as he is not using taxpayers money to exhaust the legal options, his appeal must be welcomed."

The opposition party went on to describe Zuma's latest appeal as shameless. "It is obvious that the man has lost all capacity to feel shame," the statement said.

"It is not only embarrassing that he is fighting to appoint a judge in a commission that will be investigating him. It is also a perfect sign that he wishes to undermine the inquiry itself by either delaying it or undermining it from a legal principles point of view. 

"This is because a commission appointed by him when he is also to be investigated will be challenged as bias due to conflict of interest."

The EFF joined South Africa's largest opposition party, Democratic Alliance (DA), in its view that President was fighting a well accepted legal principle that one cannot appoint a judge in one's own matter.

The DA said it would be opposing Zuma's leave to appeal application.

"We cannot allow this abuse of court processes to become a feature of the way the President gets away with things. We will once more seek a punitive, personal cost order against Mr Zuma," a statement from the party said.

"He clearly wants to delay the appointment of the commission for as long as possible, so that witnesses can forget, and evidence can be destroyed."

The party wants new African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa to step in. Ramaphosa is also the deputy president of the country.

"It is instructive that his [Zuma's] decision to appeal appears to be at variance with a decision of his own conference, not even a week ago, to the effect that the commission should be appointed as soon as possible," the SA said.

"Mr Ramaphosa, as the new president of the ANC, ought to reign Mr Zuma in. Mr Zuma is being reckless. He is undermining the reputation of the Presidency and provoking a showdown with the courts. And he is doing it on taxpayers' money."

African News Agency/ANA