CASAC: Zuma's costs orders seen as a 'sign of judiciary's frustration

Frederick Owens
December 14, 2017

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo said Zuma had acted in "flagrant disregard" for the constitutional duties of the Public Protector, and that the taxpayer should not "carry that burden" of footing Zuma's legal bill.

South Africa's High Court ruled that a commission of inquiry into allegations President Jacob Zuma allowed the Gupta family to influence state decisions be established within 180 days, as the graft ombudsman originally ordered a year ago, dealing Zuma a third legal blow in less than a week. Zuma said it was his prerogative to set up such an inquiry.

The president claimed he had not been given an opportunity by the watchdog to respond to some of the allegations in its report.

President Jacob Zuma abandoned his bid to interdict the release of the Public Protector's State of Capture report on the second day of the multimillion-rand court battle, prompting opposition parties to demand Zuma foot the bill for the case himself. She recommended that a commission of inquiry be instituted to investigate State Capture, but that the President can not appoint its head as he is conflicted. Zuma is due to step down as leader of the ANC this weekend and as national president in 2019.

The ruling comes days after the same court dealt a stinging rebuke to Zuma by ruling that his appointment of a state prosecutor to decide whether to reinstate corruption charges against him was not valid and should be set aside immediately.

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The report focused on allegations that Zuma's friends, the businessmen and brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta, had influenced the appointment of ministers. The president would then have to inform parliament of the action he planned to take based on the inquiry's findings within 14 days of receiving its report, the court said.

He said he believed it was "hopeless" for Zuma to consider appealing the judgments.

Zuma argued that he has the sole right to institute a commission of inquiry and that the Public Protector can not instruct him what to do, and how to do it.

"But in so doing he should think what it means for this country to be sitting with these allegations of state capture, a dysfunctional cabinet, a dysfunctional government and a dysfunctional ANC", said Thuli Madonsela, former Public Protector. Both Zuma and the Guptas have denied the accusations.

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