‘Jacob Zuma lying under oath’ – State capture interdict

African News Agency (ANA)

‘Jacob Zuma lying under oath’ – State capture interdict
Jacob Zuma answers questions at Parliament in Cape Town, in this picture taken March 17, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

The Democratic Alliance is considering whether to lay perjury charges against President Jacob Zuma for lying under oath, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Sunday.

The DA on Sunday submitted its answering affidavit to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to oppose two applications brought by Zuma on Saturday regarding the interdict of former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s final report into “state capture”, he said in a statement.

In the first application, Zuma sought to amend the relief he seeks and supplement his founding affidavit. In the second, he had sought to postpone the hearing of the matter on Tuesday, November 1.

The DA had argued that these applications to amend and postpone were best described as bad faith, technical manoeuvres that sought merely to delay the hearing of this matter, and thereby delay the release of the public protector’s final report into serious allegations of unethical and unconstitutional conduct by the president.

“Indeed, the president’s conduct has been characterised by delays and non-compliance,” Maimane said.

He did not file his heads of argument on October 27 as required by the order of October 14. On Friday, October 28, the Deputy Judge President issued directions requiring Zuma, if he intended to seek a postponement, to bring the application by 6pm that day. Zuma did not do so.

Instead, he opted to ignore the deadline and requested to bring his application for postponement by 11am on Saturday October 29. After the Deputy Judge President granted his request to do so, Zuma again did not comply. Instead he filed his application to amend at 1.50pm and his application for postponement at 3pm.

Zuma had still not complied with the court’s direction that he answer the intervention application by Vytjie Mentor, Maimane said.

“The DA has also argued that the president has lied to the North Gauteng High Court. In response to the DA’s founding affidavit, the president noted that should it later transpire that the report is final, then the report should be released. If necessary, he added, he would have a right to review the findings of the report.

“The president has now claimed that the concession that the report should be released if final is a ‘typographical error’. He apparently meant to say that ‘in that event the report should not be released’.

“This is a blatant lie. It has been manufactured in an attempt to justify his attempt to abuse the court’s process by amending his relief,” Maimane said. A number of factors substantiated this claim, including:

  • – the DA wrote to Zuma on October 24. It pointed out that Zuma had conceded that the report should be released if final, and that the public protector confirmed the report was final. The DA proposed an order by agreement to avoid further unnecessary costs;
  • – the public protector responded the next day again confirming that the report was final and clarified the uncertainty which Zuma was relying on;
  • – Zuma, at this stage, filed a replying affidavit on October 25. He had had full sight of the DA’s letter. If there had been a typographical error, he could have pointed it out at this stage;
  • – on October 28, Zuma’s attorneys wrote a letter to the DA replying to the proposal for an order by agreement, declining the option. Again, if there was a typographical error, this was the correct place to point it out.

“His claims that it was an error is a blatant lie. It is a transparent and calculated attempt to justify the applications for postponement and amendment. It is telling that the president is willing not only to abuse court processes, but to lie under oath in order to prevent the release of the report. The DA is considering whether to lay perjury charges against the president for lying under oath,” Maimane said.

“The president’s conduct deserves the strongest condemnation. His attempt to prevent the report violates both the DA’s rights, in terms of the Public Protector Act, to have sight of the final report, as well as the public interest.”

The DA had accordingly asked the court for the following order:

  • – The DA’s application to intervene is granted;
  • – Zuma’s applications to postpone and to amend his relief are dismissed;
  • – The public protector is ordered to immediately release the final report into the complaint laid by the DA on March 18;
  • – Zuma is ordered to pay the DA’s costs in his personal capacity; and
  • – Zuma is ordered to pay his own counsel’s fees in his personal capacity.

“The DA will continue to do everything possible to ensure that the state capture report sees the light of day, and the president is held accountable for his efforts to undermine the rule of law and the investigations of a Chapter Nine institution,” Maimane said.

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SOURCEAfrican News Agency (ANA)