Court finds Madonsela's actions against Zuma 'wise, necessary, rational and appropriate'

North and South Gauteng High Court Judge President Dunstan Mlambo

She recommended that a commission of inquiry be instituted to investigate State Capture, but that the President can not appoint its head as he is conflicted.

"The president [Jacob Zuma] is directed to appoint a commission of inquiry within 30 days, headed by a judge exclusively selected by the Chief Justice [Mogoeng]", said Judge President Dunstan Mlambo when he delivered the judgment on behalf of a full bench.

The court dismissed Zuma's application to review former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's State Capture report. He said the president had acted in "flagrant disregard of the duties of the public protector".

"The "insidious destruction" mentioned by the Supreme Court of Appeal ... is a real prospect if this is not addressed decisively".

"In our view, there was no justifiable basis to ignore state capture and launch the review", he said.

Zuma argued that he has the sole right to institute a commission of inquiry and that the Public Protector can not instruct him what to do, and how to do it.

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"The remedial action of the public protector presented him with an opportunity to confront and address the problem".

He described Zuma's application as a clear non-starter and said that the president was ill-advised and reckless to pursue a review of Madonsela's report.

Zuma was also found to be personally liable for the cost of his legal challenge, as well as his aborted application to halt the report from being released.

Madonsela said chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng should set up the inquiry, rather than Zuma, as the president had a conflict of interests.

The decision marks the first time a president has been ordered to personally pay for court costs in South Africa and further embarrasses Zuma after he was forced a year ago to repay R7.8m of taxpayers' money spent on his private residence. "This also has implications for how in future people who exercise public power conduct themselves".

The court ruled that the commission had to complete its task and present its report with findings and recommendations to the President within 180 days and that the president must give an indication of his intention regarding the implementation to parliament within 14 days of the release of the report.

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