Johannesburg - A new battle has erupted in the ANC, with some backers of the party’s president Cyril Ramaphosa pushing for newly elected leaders implicated in state capture to step down immediately.
In a hard-hitting article to Independent Media on Wednesday, ANC senior leader Mathole Motshekga again went on the warpath against party leaders entangled in the web of state capture allegations, saying “unethical and immoral” leaders should voluntarily resign before the State of the Nation address (SONA) next month and the opening of provincial legislatures.
“Today we have people who availed themselves for election to office to serve knowing fully well that they were captured by or associated with the Guptas in one way or another.
“This opportunism is unacceptable to both the public spirited people's representatives and the ancestors of our glorious movement,” he said.
“Before the SONA, those who lack integrity should resign or, if in doubt, present themselves to the Integrity Commission for vetting,” he added.
There has been a strong push from Ramaphosa’s supporters to block President Jacob Zuma from delivering the SONA on February 8.
State capture allegations were also being used to try to dislodge some senior ANC officials, including secretary-general Ace Magashule, who earlier this week defended his son’s working relationship with the Guptas.
Motshekga did not mention anyone. His comments came yesterday as opposition parties, the UDM and Cope, rushed to court to demand that Zuma first furnish security for (personal) costs of R1million in his application for leave to appeal the damning Pretoria High Court judgment ordering him to establish the commission without delay and pay costs from his own pocket.
According to the parties, Zuma’s appeal is “even more vexatious, reckless and/or abusive” because the ANC, to which he is answerable and whose decisions are binding on him, resolved at its national conference last month that the state capture inquiry would be speedily expedited.
The two parties said Zuma had announced on January 9 the establishment of the commission.
“The overall effect of the statement is to substantially concede and execute the order and judgment purportedly appealed against. Such conduct amounts to acquiescence in and/or peremption of the applicant’s (Zuma’s) right to appeal the judgment,” read the two opposition parties notice filed on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha promised to release the terms of reference of the state capture commission of inquiry today.
He said Zuma signed the terms of reference on Tuesday.
The publication of the terms of reference would be followed by the release of the regulations which give the commission its legal competence to conduct the investigation into state capture, including empowering Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to subpoena witnesses and arrange searches and seizures.
The Justice Department would provide assistance in setting up the required infrastructure and resources necessary for the commission. In a letter attached to the UDM and Cope’s application, the EFF told Zuma that since he had already appointed Zondo to head the commission, he had perempted (destroyed) his right of appeal.
“He cannot legally seek to implement an order which he simultaneously believes is legally flawed and needs attention of ‘higher courts’,” read a letter written by EFF lawyers Ian Levitt Attorneys to the State attorney on January 10.
The letter from the law firm warned the president that should he not withdraw his appeal they had been instructed to seek appropriate relief against him including another adverse and personal costs order.
Earlier this week, Zondo warned that if the terms of reference would not allow him to do his job properly he would raise his concerns.
Motshekga also yesterday issued a statement in his capacity as chairperson of Parliament's portfolio committee on justice and correctional services demanding that Zuma issue the terms of reference as a matter of urgency.
“It (terms of reference) must be based on the remedial action of the public protector's report on the state of capture. This matter cannot be delayed any further and a debate around the issue about who is responsible for issuing the terms of reference of the commission cannot be entertained.
"The deputy chief justice and the president have a responsibility to ensure that the remedial action of the public protector is not amended,” Motshekga said.
He agreed with Justice Zondo that the matter was serious and the committee felt strongly that it couldn't drag its feet any longer as it went to the root of South Africa’s constitutional democracy.