Finding that Zuma was reckless resonates with how he dealt with report – Madonsela

Former PP says president had a duty to investigate matter the moment he found out about allegations

The finding that Zuma was reckless resonates with how he dealt with my report – Madonsela

13 December 2017

Pretoria – Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says the finding by the North Gauteng High Court that President Jacob Zuma was reckless resonates with her view of how he dealt with the State of Capture report.

"If someone says your house is burning, honestly, you've got to sort that out. Find out [if] it is true," Madonsela told reporters shortly after the High Court ruling.

The court found that Madonsela's recommended remedial actions after her investigation into state capture were wise, necessary, rational and appropriate.

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo dismissed Zuma's application against Madonsela's report.

The court found that Zuma must institute a commission of inquiry into state capture within 30 days, which would be headed by a judge appointed by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, as per the "binding" remedial actions put forward by Madonsela.

Madonsela said she was happy with the court's decision and believed that she and her team had done their jobs.

Right to appeal

She said the president had a duty to investigate the matter the moment he found out about the allegations made by former finance deputy minister Mcebisi Jonas.

Jonas told Madonsela that the Gupta family offered him the position of finance minister and R600 000 in cash during a meeting at their Saxonwold, Johannesburg, residence.

Madonsela also said Zuma had a right to appeal Wednesday's decision if he felt it was unlawful, unconstitutional and that his rights had been violated.

She said Zuma needed to take into account what it meant for the country to be sitting with allegations of state capture and a "dysfunctional government. A dysfunctional Cabinet and a dysfunctional ANC".

"Every day we lose, we are losing evidence and this is becoming a cold case and by the time we investigate, lots of the evidence, if not all, will be lost," she said.

"I think it is time that people in government reflected and pause after a decision has been made by the Public Protector or the courts.

"Increasingly people just decide to take a matter on review within minutes of a decision being made and that gives me a sense that people do not apply their minds."

Zuma's actions 'grossly remiss'

Zuma was also found to be personally liable for the costs of his legal challenge, as well as his aborted application to halt the report from being released.

"The commission of inquiry is to be given powers of evidence collection that are not less than that of the Public Protector," Mlambo ruled.

The commission was ordered to complete its task, and present a report with findings and recommendations, within 180 days.

"The president shall submit a copy (of the eventual report), with an indication of his intention regarding the implementation to Parliament, within 14 days of releasing the report."

Mlambo found that Zuma was compromised and had a "clear personal interest in the outcome of the inquiry", and was at the centre of the State of Capture report.

"None of the grounds of review (in Zuma's application) have any merit. The remedial action (of the Public Protector) is lawful and appropriate."

He described Zuma's actions as "completely unreasonable" and "grossly remiss".

He said Zuma was irrational and his conduct fell far short of what was required of the president in the Constitution.