Zuma, ministers in court to stop state capture report

File: President Jacob Zuma and two ministers have applied to stop the release of the former public protector's state capture report. Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

CATCH IT LIVE: Zuma interdict against state capture report

PRETORIA – Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane is the latest government official joining the legal bid to prevent the state capture report's release.

He is seeking an interdict to halt the release of the public protector’s investigation into state capture.



Co-operative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen also brought another urgent application on Monday, after he had withdrawn his first application.

The report contains the public protector's findings on allegations that the politically connected Gupta family wielded vast influence over executive decisions and was the last she finalised before leaving office earlier this month.

“The public protector cannot confirm or deny if the report, which is now alleged to be in final form, makes any adverse findings against the minister,” said Mineral Resources Department spokesperson Ayanda Shezi.

“It is the minister’s submission that the report was hastily prepared without due regard to his constitutional rights.”

READ: Van Rooyen has second thoughts about state capture report

On Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma's legal team will present their arguments in the North Gauteng High Court as to why the report should not be made public.

The three are now heading to court, arguing their rights have been violated.

Ulrich Roux, a director at BDK Attorneys says: "The bizarre thing about the application of this interdict – especially when it comes to the president – is that he’s been informed since March already. He’s had ample opportunity to peruse the evidence and prepare himself for this report.”

People implicated in a public protector's investigation must be informed of how they may be implicated in any findings and the president will also argue that he has the right to cross-examine witnesses who testified against him.

“The public protector’s act is mute on the point of whether a person who has been implicated in an investigation is entitled to cross-examine witnesses who have deposed to statements. But they are certainly entitled to peruse the evidence brought against them,” adds Roux.

Besides challenging how the investigation was conducted, Zuma’s legal team is expected to ask for a postponement to prepare further.

WATCH: Zuma answers on Gordhan, ratings and the state capture report

Poitical analyst Karima Brown says: "It’s a typical Zuma move – it’s a delaying tactic. It’s the scorched earth policy, throw the kitchen sink at it and try and push it to touch. The problem is that the crisis is so fundamental now that a delaying tactic is simply not good enough.”

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the ministers were simply seeking to delay Tuesday’s court proceedings for as long as possible.

“These interdicts are nothing more than carefully calculated attempts to delay matters and drag out the inevitable release of the public protector’s report,” he said.

“Both ministers are well known to be Gupta proxies, and therefore their scrambling attempts to try discredit this report is no doubt due to the fact that they are both implicated in the report."

How a full bench of the North Gauteng High Court rules on this matter will give an indication of how the next chapter in this saga is written.


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