Published: Wed, December 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

SA's Zuma abused judicial process with watchdog report challenge, says court

SA's Zuma abused judicial process with watchdog report challenge, says court

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

Madonsela said chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng should set up the inquiry, rather than Zuma, as the president had a conflict of interests.

President Jacob Zuma was today not only saddled with personally paying legal costs amounting to millions of rands, but was given 30 days to appoint a commission of inquiry into state capture, headed by a judge selected by the chief justice.

Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo read out the historic ruling, by a full bench of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo delivered the unanimous judgment rejecting Zuma's bid to have the report that found widespread impropriety by his son Duduzane and friends, the controversial Gupta family and several bosses of state-owned entities and Cabinet reviewed.

"The president had no justifiable basis to launch the review application in the circumstances".

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In October the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld an earlier decision by a lower court that the almost 800 corruption charges relating to an arms deal filed against Zuma before he became president in 2009 be reinstated.

Mlambo said a judicial commission was best suited to investigate the allegations against Zuma.

Judgment on the case was reserved in September, where Zuma's advocate Ishmael Semenya, SC, said the crux of his client's argument against implementing the remedial action of the report was that it would be unconstitutional to do so.

Zuma cancelled an application interdicting the release of the report as the court was about to hear it.

The court also slapped Zuma with a personal costs order for the second time following an earlier similar order for his futile attempt to stop the release of Madonsela's report.

"This is unprecedented but it also reflects the extent to which the courts might have taken a dim view of the president's abuse of legal process", Phephelaphi Dube, director of the Centre for Constitutional Rights, said by phone.

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