South African court orders Zuma to set up influence-peddling inquiry

South African court orders Zuma to set up influence-peddling inquiry

There was loud applause in the packed courtroom when Gauteng judge president Dunstan Mlambo read out two unanimous judgments that lashed the president as ill-advised and reckless in launching a series of applications initially aimed at stopping the release of the state capture report and thereafter overturning the remedial action.

The court found that the "remedial action in the Public Protector's Report titled State of Capture is binding".

The report by then graft ombudsman Thuli Madonsela released in November previous year ordered a judicial inquiry into allegations that the Guptas may have influenced the appointment of cabinet members in Zuma's administration and received special treatment for a coal business linked to the family and Duduzane Zuma, the president's son.

COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota said the entire ANC leadership was to blame for protecting President Jacob Zuma as he became "a law unto himself".

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) is relieved that taxpayers do not have to pay for President Jacob Zuma's failed attempts to stop the Public Protector's State of Capture report and the inquiry she recommended.

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The court is due to rule later on whether Mr. Zuma is legally compelled by the public protector to set up the inquiry.

Zuma cancelled an application interdicting the release of the report as the court was about to hear it. "In fact, the president's conduct amounts to an attempt to stymie the fulfilment of a constitutional obligation by the office of the Public Protector". He said Madonsela foresaw that the credibility of the inquiry would be compromised if the president were to appoint the judge.

He said the power to appoint commissions vests in the president alone, and only he can exercise that power; but there are constraints to the exercise of this power.

"Even though constitution invests power (in the president).it is not an untrammeled one".

"... The public protector's report has uncovered worrying levels of malfeasance and corruption in the form of utter disregard of good corporate governance principles, some bordering on fraud, in government departments and state-owned enterprises. There is compelling prima facie evidence that the relationship between the president and the Gupta family had evolved into state capture", Mlambo said.

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