President Jacob Zuma made the announcement during a recorded broadcast on Monday night, saying he wants government to be seen dismantling corruption instead of supporting it.
JOHANNESBURG – Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says while she welcomes President Jacob Zuma’s decision to appoint a commission of inquiry into state capture she is concerned about how late his decision has come.
The president made the announcement during a recorded broadcast on Monday night, saying he wants government to be seen dismantling corruption instead of supporting it.
This is despite the many times that he has challenged the Public Protector’s report in court, saying that it was hurried and that its recommendations were unconstitutional.
In his announcement on Tuesday, Zuma says he decided to agree to appointing a commission of inquiry while he seeks further legal advice on the prosecution of his appeal.
However, speaking on the Karima Brown Show, Madonsela says this was recommended for him to do from the onset.
“Comply with the Constitutional requirement, if you’re not sure about whether this is fully okay, seek clarity in the court. I’m very happy with that even though it’s coming a little bit late.”
She says while she welcomes his decision, crucial evidence may have been lost or compromised.
“Cellphone records are kept for a limited period and I’m not sure if we’re still going to get them.”
The president has appealed for all involved to respect the process and allow the commission to do its work.
Zuma said while he has “reservations” about the legality of North Gauteng High Court directive that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng appoint the judge, he has decided the state capture inquiry “deserves urgent attention”.
He said Mogoeng selected Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to head the inquiry.
“However, I am taking further legal advice on the prosecution of this appeal. I am concerned that this matter has occupied the public mind for some time now and deserves urgent attention,” the president says in a statement released on Tuesday evening.
He further stated: “I have only appealed the orders to the extent that they set a particular precedent for the Office of the President of the Republic and are indeed deserving of legal certainty.”
Zuma said the allegations that the state has been wrestled out of the hands of its real owners are of paramount importance and are therefore deserving of finality and certainty.
The president said the commission must seek to uncover not just the conduct of some, but of all those who may have rendered the state or parts of it vulnerable to control by forces other than the government.
“There should be no area of corruption and culprit that should be spared the extent of this commission of inquiry.
“I am also mindful of the concerns raised by the Public Protector in her report, wherein she lamented the lack of resources to conduct a wider inquiry into this matter.
“Accordingly, by making more resources available, it is my sincere hope that the commission, will be able to reach many of those areas of concern that may not have been reached by the Public Protector’s investigation, but form part of what she might have investigated, had she had sufficient resources to do so.”
The president said he has full faith in all the judges and their ability to execute their tasks with fairness, impartiality and independence.
Madonsela instructed Zuma to establish a commission of inquiry in her remedial action in the State of Capture Report, compiled after investigating a litany of allegations against the Gupta families, the President’s son Duduzane Zuma and other people close to the head of state.
She also ordered that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng appoint the judge to head the commission, as Zuma was compromised by being linked to the web of allegations.
The president went to court to block Madonsela’s instructions, but he failed in this attempt.
Zuma has come under increased pressure in recent months, with supporters of new ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa calling for him to be recalled as head of state before his term ends in 2019.
Tomorrow, National Assembly MPs will be meeting to consider draft rules that will govern the removal of a sitting president. The urgent meeting has been set down for two days.
It follows last month’s ruling by the Constitutional Court, which gave the National Assembly 120 days to put in place rules governing the impeachment of the president in terms of Section 89 of the constitution.
The court further ordered that the National Assembly initiate proceedings against President Jacob Zuma in terms of the new rules within 180 days of its 29 December judgment.