Zuma wants state capture judicial probe‚ pending court outcome

31 May 2017 - 17:54 By Thabo Mokone
President Jacob Zuma. File photo.
President Jacob Zuma. File photo.
Image: © Sumaya Hisham / Reuters

President Jacob Zuma has assured parliament that he will institute a commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture‚ pending a court decision on the matter.

But he's told legislators that he first wants the courts to clarify certain issues in relation to the recommendations of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on the matter.

In her state of capture report released towards the end of last year‚ Madonsela recommended that Zuma should institute a commission of inquiry to be headed by a judge selected solely by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to further probe state capture allegations.

However Zuma has mounted a legal challenge against that recommendation‚ saying it interfered with his executive powers as President.

Opening a debate on his budget vote for the 2017/18 today (Wednesday)‚ Zuma said this was not to say that he was against a judicial probe into state capture allegations.

“Let me place it on record that there is no opposition from either the Government or the Presidency‚ to the calls for a commission of inquiry into the said 'state capture'. We fully support an inquiry as it will help to uncover the facts and remove rumours about the extent of capture‚” said Zuma‚ amid jeering from opposition.

He was applauded by some members sitting in the ANC side of the National Assembly chamber.

“What has caused a delay is the manner in which the former Public Protector directed that the inquiry should be done‚ which infringes on the powers of the President of the Republic. If this is left unattended‚ it would cause problems even for future Heads of State as it sets a wrong precedent.

“Legal advice obtained pointed at the fact that the remedial action on the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry undermines the doctrine of the separation of powers.

“There are various other issues that we have placed before court in our application for a review. We trust that this matter will be resolved as soon as possible."

The ANC‚ at a meeting of its national executive committee this past weekend‚ resolved that allegations of state capture should be probed by a judicial commission.

Zuma was interacting with MPs for the first time since the Democratic Alliance tabled the latest motion of no confidence in his leadership‚ which is yet to be debated pending a court decision on whether or not this should be decided by secret ballot.

He also present his budget vote amid shocking revelations by newspapers regarding the extent of the influence of the Gupta family‚ who are his friends‚ in government affairs.

Zuma received a standing ovation from ANC MPs before the delivery and upon conclusion of his speech while members of the opposition occasionally heckled him.

Shouts of "for the Guptas…you need to resign to that to happen" came from the benches of the DA whenever Zuma referred to "a better life for all" in his speech.

EFF MPs boycotted the debate in line with their stance of not recognising Zuma as a legitimate state president.

- TMG Parliament