The pressure mounted thus far, might have instigated and influenced the South African leader on the explosive subject of state capture. President Jacob Zuma is not opposed to a commission of inquiry into allegations of “state capture”, but his legal team says that the Public Protector had no legal or constitutional right to tell him what to do, his office said on Friday.
However, “The president is of the view that some of the remedial actions directed by the Public Protector [in the State of Capture report] are irregular, unlawful and unconstitutional,” the Presidency said in a statement.
Going by legal advice Zuma received, only he can decide whether a commission of inquiry can be established.
He is also the only one, in terms of Section 84(2)(f) of the Constitution, who can appoint the judge and set the terms of reference and the timelines.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s “outsourcing” of this to the chief justice, currently Mogoeng Mogoeng, was not only unconstitutional, but unlawful.
The chief justice also did not have the powers to do the things the Public Protector recommended, the Presidency said.
Madonsela made this recommendation due to the unprecedented situation of the president possibly being implicated in the allegations that the Gupta family was milking its relationship with him and his son.
This was allegedly to obtain government contracts, to the point of allegedly having a say in ministerial appointments.
“The Presidency has noted recent media reports alleging that President Jacob Zuma is opposed to the implementation of the remedial action of the Public Protector as contained in the ‘State of Capture’ report, relating to the establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry. This is incorrect.
“The remedial action has made that choice for the president, which is impermissible in law,” the Presidency said, adding that these powers are nowhere in the Public Protector Act.
“Finally, the decision underpinning the remedial action, which is to outsource it, is irrational since the only conceivable deduction to be made is that the former public protector’s term of office was coming to an end and she was unwilling for the office of the [new] public protector to continue with the investigation outside her control.”
The Presidency believed that for all of these reasons, his application for a court review of the findings did not mean he is opposed to the establishment of a commission of inquiry.