/State Capture: Legal woes piling up against Zuma after losing appeal in the SCA

State Capture: Legal woes piling up against Zuma after losing appeal in the SCA

Former president Jacob Zuma.

Former president Jacob Zuma.

  • More legal woes are piling up for former President Jacob Zuma.
  • The SCA in Bloemfontein has dismissed with costs an application by Zuma to challenge the remedial action of the former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
  • Zuma, who was directly implicated in the ‘State of Capture Report’ published by Madonsela in 2016, failed to appoint a commission of inquiry into state capture within 20 days as recommended by her.

The legal woes keep piling up for former President Jacob Zuma.

The Supreme Court of Appeal has on Friday, dismissed with costs an application by Zuma to challenge the remedial action of the then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

The court, ruled that during his tenure as president, Zuma who was directly implicated in the improper conduct referred to in the State of Capture Report published by Madonsela in 2016, was required to appoint a judge selected by the chief justice to head a commission of inquiry into the allegations of state capture, using the report as a starting point.

READ | Zuma loses SCA bid against personal costs order over Mandonsela report

Zuma was appealing an order against him by a full bench of the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

The court had ordered Zuma to pay in his personal capacity and on a punitive scale, the costs of his failed application to review and set aside a decision by Madonsela.

His appeal was heard on 28 August by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

SCA Judge A Schippers said: “Madonsela recommended that the commission be set up within 30 days and present its report with findings and recommendations to the president within 180 days.

“Thereafter, within 14 days, Zuma was required to submit the report to Parliament, together with ‘an indication of his implementation of the commission’s recommendations’,” said Schippers.

READ | Madonsela: Remedial actions remain binding

Zuma, however, did not appoint the commission within 30 days.

Instead, on 2 December 2016 and in his capacity as president, Zuma launched an application in the High Court, in which he sought an order reviewing and setting aside the remedial action required by the Public Protector, and that the matter be remitted to her for further investigation.

Zuma alleged that the remedial action was unconstitutional because it directed him to establish a commission of inquiry, contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, which reserved that power to the President.

“He said that he could not be instructed by anyone as to when and how he should appoint a commission of inquiry, and if he were to implement the remedial action, the commission ‘would be invalid and a nullity’, and would amount to the ‘exercise of an executive power under dictation’.

“The appointment of a judge by the chief justice to head the inquiry, Zuma said, was unconstitutional and a breach of the doctrine of separation of powers, because the chief justice has no such power under the Constitution,” said Schippers.


In her report, Madonsela revealed troubling allegations of improper relationships between Zuma, his cabinet ministers and senior government officials, and Gupta family.

Some of the allegations against Zuma, his son Duduzane, former ministers and the Gupta family members have been revealed in the state capture commission of inquiry led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Currently, Zuma wants Zondo to recuse himself, stating that they had a historical family relationship and claiming Zondo was biased against him.

READ | A timeline of Zuma’s relationship with the Zondo commission

He made it clear, through a lawyer’s letter, that he will not appear at the commission of inquiry to give evidence until Zondo removes himself as chair. This after Zondo issued new, non-negotiable dates for Zuma’s appearance following a number of excuses given to the commission on why Zuma could not appear. These ranged from his illness to dealing with other matters involving him that were before court.

Zondo has recently admitted that he in the mid-1990s he had fathered a child with the sister of Zuma’s estranged wife Tobeka Madiba.

Zondo said at the time, Madiba was not in a relationship with Zuma.

He is also fighting 16 charge including fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering charges in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

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