The South African Presidency on Friday refuted allegations that President Jacob Zuma is opposed to the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into “state capture.”
“This is incorrect,” presidential spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said.
The Presidency issued the statement after Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa last Sunday called for the establishment of an independent judicial commission to thoroughly investigate all allegations of “state capture.”
“Only through such a commission will we be able to establish the extent to which the institutions of our state have been used to improperly – and illegally – enrich a few individuals and families,” Ramaphosa said.
The Commission of Inquiry was proposed by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in his “state capture” report last year as a remedial action to Zuma’s alleged links with the India Gupta family which reportedly has exerted undue influence on Zuma in the appointment of cabinet ministers and awarding of contracts with state-owned enterprises.
Both Zuma and the Guptas have denied the accusation.
“The President is of the view that some of the remedial actions directed by the Public Protector are irregular, unlawful and unconstitutional,” Ngqulunga said.
Legal advice obtained pointed at the fact that the remedial action on the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry undermines the separation of powers doctrine, the spokesperson argued.
The Constitution gives the power to appoint a commission of inquiry to the President, which she/he must exercise when the President holds a view that a matter of public concern requires such a process.
In the “state capture” report, the President is not only directed to appoint a Commission of Inquiry, but he is also directed as to what kind of a commission he should appoint and the process that must be followed in appointing it.
This contravenes the Constitution which leaves it open for the President to choose what type of a commission of inquiry should be established, whether it should be a judicial commission of inquiry or any other commission, Ngqulunga said.
“The remedial action has made that choice for the President, which is impermissible in law,” he added.
Furthermore, the Constitution leaves it to the President to determine what particular matter of public concern should trigger the exercise of the power to institute a commission of inquiry, the spokesperson said.
The former Public Protector also decided this matter for the President through her remedial action.
“This, too, renders the remedial action unconstitutional and invalid,” said Ngqulunga.
None of the grounds set above for the President’s application for review of the Public Protector’s report suggest in any way that he is opposed to the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry, Ngqulunga said. Enditem