Opposition parties want State Capture inquiry within 15 days of court order

Advocate says President's tactics have nothing to do with protecting powers of his office, it is about saving his own skin

Opposition parties want State Capture inquiry within15 days of a court order

25 October 2017

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma must appoint a commission of inquiry into State Capture headed by a judge selected by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng within 15 days.

This was the draft order submitted by advocate Dali Mpofu, SC, on behalf of his clients the United Democratic Movement and the Congress of the People during his closing arguments in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Mpofu and his counterpart advocate Ishmael Semenya, SC, have been battling it out over whether President Jacob Zuma should appoint a commission probing state capture.

Mpofu's clients have proposed an order which seeks to compel Zuma to act if they are successful in their application.

He was concluding his submissions, which he began on Tuesday afternoon, before Judge President Dunstan Mlambo and High Court Judges Phillip Boruchowitz and Wendy Hughes.

Commission of inquiry

Zuma is seeking an order to set aside former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's remedial actions contained in her State of Capture report.

She recommended that Zuma should appoint a commission of inquiry into the matter.

Mpofu said the respondents, which include his clients, the Office of the Public Protector, the Economic Freedom Fighters, the Democratic Alliance, Vytie Mentor and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, want Zuma's application to be dismissed.

In terms of the proposed draft order, they also want the court to order that:

- The Commission is given the powers of evidence collection that no less than the Public Protector; that

- The President shall submit the commission's report to Parliament within 14 days of its release, and that such report is released no later than 180 days from its inception; and that

- The President must pay the cost of the application in his personal capacity.

However, Mlambo expressed grave concerns over the draft order.

"If I am with you, you want us to dictate the chief justice to appoint someone in five days?'' he asked Mpofu.

Mpofu responded saying: "It was not so much of a dictation…"

As far as the costs were concerned, Mpofu said: "We have a situation where the courts are being abused simply for nothing to be done for matter of such great importance… and we are on this merry-go-round forever."

He said Zuma has duties to uphold, defend and protect the Constitution.

''He has further obligation to assist the Public Protector. He has further powers to ensure that there is no maladministration and ensure that matters of this kind are dealt with without delay.

"These gymnastic delay tactics have nothing to do with his office, it is to protect his own skin…

"Why must the Guptas steal tax payers' money with the help of Zuma and then they have to pay for his legal costs?'' Mpofu argued.

Zuma's legal team will respond to all the submissions from the respondents.