/ 24 October 2017

Opposition parties urge court to hold Zuma to state capture promises

In her State of Capture report

President Jacob Zuma has, in no uncertain terms, told Parliament that he would institute a commission of inquiry into state capture, the EFF told the high court in Pretoria on Tuesday afternoon.

“He should therefore not be allowed to, [at] this point in time, effectively attempt to undo an undertaking he made in the national assembly,” advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi told a full bench on behalf of the red party. “He should in fact be held to that undertaking.”

Zuma has asked the court to review and set aside then public protector Thuli Madonsela’s order that he establish an inquiry that would investigate, among other things, allegations relating to his own involvement in state capture.

Ngcukaitobi told the court Zuma had informed Parliament of “not just an intention, but a decision he had already made to appoint the judicial commission of inquiry”.

Ngcukaitobi also stressed the importance of the location where Zuma made those promises.

“It is not as if the President is talking to his friends. The President is talking to Parliament, the body he accounts to… When he makes that statement in Parliament it must be taken with the greatest level of seriousness.”

The EFF is opposing Zuma’s application for a review of Madonsela’s State of Capture report in part on the basis that he already preempted the legal action with his promise to establish the commission of inquiry Madonsela had ordered him to set up.

Shortly before the matter was adjourned until Wednesday, advocate Dali Mpofu told the court he would ask for structural relief against Zuma, on behalf of Cope and the UDM.

It is not enough to simply dismiss Zuma’s application, Mpofu said. “Something has to happen about this report” into state capture.

“We have probably one of the most important cases that is going to ever grace our courts,” Mpofu said. “It can never get worse than state capture. The whole state, captured.It can not get worse… than the head of that state being implicated in basically what amounts to criminal activity.”

Representatives of the DA, former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor, and the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) are all expected to argue against Zuma’s application on Wednesday.