POLITICS

The Public Protector's Office Is Undecided On Whether To Defend Its Own State Capture Report

The office of the public protector still not sure if it will challenge Jacob Zuma’s court bid to have the report set aside.

05/12/2016 10:51 SAST | Updated 05/12/2016 12:28 SAST
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The office of the public protector is not sure whether to challenge President Jacob Zuma's court bid and defend the State of Capture report compiled by Thuli Madonsela.

Zuma has approached the court and filed an application to review the report as well as to have it set aside. Spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said the Public Protector Busi Mkhwebane was still weighing up available options.

"We are still consulting," he said on Monday.

In his challenge to the report, Zuma said it was not the public protector's role to get involved in the environment of the executive. Madonsela recommended that Zuma institute a judicial inquiry and Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng should appoint the judge to lead the commission.

Zuma's decision to challenge the report was met with condemnation from various political parties, including the Economic Freedom Fighters, Congress of the People and the Democratic Alliance, who all viewed the move as a delay tactic.

The DA has said it would be heading to the Constitutional Court to force Zuma to appoint an inquiry.

"We will file papers today to compel President Jacob Zuma to appoint a commission of inquiry immediately. It's insufficient to give notice of a review," Federal Chairperson James Selfe said.

The Nkandla judgment obliged Zuma to carry out remedial action unless it's set aside, and that was not done in this matter, Selfe said.

The DA chairperson said the party would approach the Constitutional Court because the matter fell under its exclusive jurisdiction.

"It's about the powers of the public protector and those of the president," he said.

Constitutional law expert Professor Marinus Weichers said he believed the DA raised a valid point in saying the public protector's remedial action is binding but felt the party's bid was premature.

"The Constitutional Court is generally hesitant if lower courts have not decided on it yet," said Weichers.

He said he did not believe the DA's bid would succeed.

"Zuma is in the lower courts, the ConCourt might just say let's wait and see how that goes."

Additional reporting by Tshidi Madia, News24.

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