Court To Rule On Whether Zuma Can Appoint State Capture Inquiry Judge

Court To Rule On Whether Zuma Can Appoint State Capture Inquiry Judge

President Jacob Zuma must establish a judicial commission of inquiry within 30 days, the High Court in Pretoria has ordered.

The court ordered that the remedial action given in the report was binding.

The judgment presented the first time in South Africa's history that either a minister or a president had been held liable in their personal capacity for the costs of a court case.

Ordering Zuma to pay the costs of that challenge, Mlambo said the president's conduct was "clearly objectionable ... and amounts to clear abuse of the judicial process".

"Simply put, the president had become aware some six months before his abortive application that the Public Protector was in possession of complaints implicating him in serious misconduct, and he did nothing when he was invited to comment".

Zuma does not argue with Madonsela's recommendation for a commission of inquiry, but he wants to be able to appoint the chair himself.

"The president's persistence to continue with the application [for an interdict against the public protector] amounts to abuse of judicial process", said Mlambo. Zuma and the Guptas have denied all accusations of wrongdoing.

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo handed down judgment on Wednesday morning.

The court stopped short of finding that Zuma had committed perjury, saying this had not been its task, but found that a claim he had made of a "typing error" through which he undermined his own argument was improbable.

The president then filed another court application challenging the right of the report's author, former public protector head Thuli Madonsela, to call for the inquiry. Specifically, whether or not Zuma must appoint a commission of inquiry and let Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng appoint a judge to chair the inquiry.

His conduct resulted in a delay of the public protector's report, and stifled the public protector's constitutional duties, Mlambo said.

Zuma was earlier on Wednesday ordered to pay costs in his personal capacity for an application he made in October a year ago to interdict the finalisation and release of the State of Capture report.

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