National 2.11.2016 01:57 pm

High court orders Mkhwebane to release ‘state capture’ report

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, during a press briefing at the Public Protector Office, 20 October 2016, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, during a press briefing at the Public Protector Office, 20 October 2016, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

South Africa will know the truth by 5pm today.

New pubic protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has been ordered to publish her predecessor Thuli Madonsela’s state capture report by no later than 5pm today.

Judge Dunstan Mlambo granted an order in terms of a concept drafted by the DA, EFF, UDM, Cope and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor, who all sought an order to force Mkhwebane to release the report.

In terms of the order, Mkhwebane must amongst others publish the report on the Public Protector’s website.

ALSO READ: Zuma withdraws ‘state capture’ court bid 

The Judges granted a punitive costs order, but reserved judgment on the issue if President Zuma should pay for the costs out of his own pocket.

The parties were given seven days to file further heads of argument on the issue.

The order follows after the President earlier today withdrew his urgent application to stop the release of the report as well as his opposition to a counter-application by the political parties for the immediate release of the report.

The DA’s advocate Etienne Labuschagne SC argued that President Zuma had used his office and state coffers to assert his personal rights, and that the court should grant a punitive costs order against him.

“The entire backdrop of the matter relates to the surrender of state resources for private interests. It forms the backdrop of the complaint the DA lay.

‘”…The president should pay the costs from his own resources. The application constitutes an abuse of court,” he said.

Dumisa Ntsebeza SC, for the EFF, said they sought the release of the report by no later than 8 November.

“The President acted in concert with the Gupta family in his personal capacity. There is no basis in law to saddle the taxpayer with the costs.The time has come for the President to accept responsibility for the multiplicity of actions in which he’s currently involved,” he said.

Ntsebesa said he was not surprised that the President’s legal team had capitulated, as the President had ignored the court’s deadlines to file papers and insisted on bringing an application that never should have been brought in the first place.

Dali Mpofu SC, for the UDM and Cope, argued that the allegations of corruption and nepotism leveled at the President related to his personal interest.

“None of the powers ascribed to the President in the Constitution include putting your son as a proxy for your own business interests,” he said.

He argued that the President, should like Van Rooyen and Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, have used private attorneys for his case.

ALSO READ: EFF supporters ready for ‘day of action’ 

“The time has come for the court to scratch the surface and not just look at what’s in front of it.

“…The President was here for his own nefarious personal purposes.

“…The law cannot be used to shield the reputational damage of corrupt people,” he said.

He said it was not the first time the Public Protector’s office has been frustrated, this case was an even more aggravating abuse of the court process than the Nkandla matter.

“…I implore the court to say something before it is too late,” he said.

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