NEWS
13/12/2017 15:08 SAST | Updated 13/12/2017 15:08 SAST

7 Things You Need To Know About The Zuma vs Madonsela Ruling

The High Court in Pretoria dismissed President Jacob Zuma's legal bid to have Madonsela's recommendations set aside.

Sowetan via Getty Images
Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela during a media conference at the Cape Town Press Club on January 16, 2017. (Photo by Ruvan Boshoff/Sowetan/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

More than a year after former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her State of Capture report, its recommendations may finally be implemented.

This after the High Court in Pretoria dismissed President Jacob Zuma's legal bid to have Madonsela's recommendations set aside. He was also ordered to pay the legal costs of the parties involved from his own pockets.

Here is everything you need to know about the case:

1) In November last year, after Zuma failed to block its contents from being made public, Madonsela's report was released. It revealed prima facie evidence of the president's relationship with the controversial Gupta family, detailed how this relationship was used to appoint and dismiss cabinet ministers and directors at state-owned enterprises, and use the influence obtained by this power to gain state contracts.

Madonsela recommended, because her office did not have the capacity and her term of office was ending, that Zuma appoint a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the matter further. But because of Zuma's conflict of interest in the matter, she said the judge presiding over the investigation should be appointed by the chief justice.

2) Zuma immediately approached the courts, saying the public protector does not have the power to dictate the terms of the commission. The constitution provides that the president has exclusive powers to appoint commissions of inquiry, decide their terms and appoint a judge to preside over it.

3) Madonsela's successor, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, took up the fight in court along with opposition parties. On Wednesday, the court ordered in their favour. The court found that Zuma was "ill-advised and reckless" in launching a challenge against the remedial action.

4) Madonsela's recommendations are now binding –– although Zuma can appeal the court's decision. But as it stands, the president must now appoint a commission of inquiry into state capture within 30 days, and the judge presiding over the probe will be appointed by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

5) Judge-President Dunstan Mlambo agreed that Zuma has the power alone to appoint commissions, but said this power given to him by the constitution cannot be viewed in isolation of other laws. He also agreed that Madonsela's powers in terms of her remedial action is dependent on the type of investigation her office undertakes –– and that this case is an exceptional one for obvious reasons.

6) Mlambo found that most of Zuma's arguments were "groundless" and "without merit", including one that said Madonsela's report found no prima facie evidence of his relationship with the Gupta family. The court also applauded Madonsela's decision to hand over the responsibility of choosing a judge to the chief justice.

7) Zuma will likely take the ruling to the Supreme Court of Appeal, where he will argue that the ruling infringes on his constitutional powers. In that event, the ruling will be delayed until the appeal is heard and a decision made.