President Jacob Zuma’s application to interdict former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela from releasing her report on “state capture” is expected to be heard in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.
The report, which Madonsela said was “final”, contains her findings on allegations that the politically connected Gupta family yielded vast influence over executive decisions. She finalised the report before leaving office last this month.
Zuma, who has strong ties to the wealthy Gupta family, applied for an interdict to halt the release of the report, three days after he demanded an undertaking from Madonsela that she would not wrap up her investigation until he had been allowed to question witnesses in the investigation.
The President complained that he was not given enough time to respond.
On Monday, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and Co-operative Governance Minister Des Van Rooyen applied for a court interdict to block the release of Madonsela’s report.
“Minister Zwane has had no option, but to now become involved in this matter, as he was not afforded an opportunity to answer allegations levelled against him (contained in a letter he received from the Public Protector) in terms of the Constitution, Public Protector Act and Promotion of Administration of Justice Act,” Zwane’s office said.
Van Rooyen takes a similar stance in documents he filed in court on Monday, in a bid to block the release of the report, saying he would suffer “grave harm” if the report contained adverse findings which he was not given an opportunity to refute.
Van Rooyen initially went to court to block Madonsela’s report a week and a half ago, arguing that she had given him only one day to respond to damning allegations that he had used his four days as finance minister last December, to pull strings for the rich and politically connected Gupta family.
However, the minister later withdrew his interdict application, which was due to be heard along with a separate one by Zuma – only to reinstate it again on Monday.
Democratic Alliance 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.
He said the DA’s legal team would argue that all the applications be dismissed.
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