Media Statement on Gauteng High Court’s Judgement on President Zuma’s
State of Capture Report Review.
Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) welcomes the judgement of the Gauteng High Court dismissing President Jacob Zuma’s stand against the remedial action of the Public Protector.
The President is now required to establish, without delay, the prescribed Judicial Commission of Enquiry by a judge selected by the Chief Justice, to investigate allegations of State Capture. Government must now act speedily not just to establish a commission of enquiry, but also to bring to justice all those implicated in corruption, those who have undermined our constitution and betrayed the trust bestowed on us by the founders of our democracy.
We urge the President not to extend the litigation through an appeal against this ruling. Even though he may be legally entitled to that, it is not the ethically correct thing to do.
Beyond the urgent requirement for the Judicial Commission, there is the inexplicable failure of the justice system to act on the available prima facie evidence of State Capture, both as covered in the State of Capture report, and in the numerous revelations that have been washing through the public domain in emails, the parliamentary enquiry into Eskom and several accounts of impropriety.
We are very concerned about the failure of Government to act in the best interests of the public. Instead there seems to be a greater commitment to protect the personal interests of the President. We are appalled at the failure of Government to appreciate that the President cannot act on matters that affect him directly. The Public Protector’s instruction for the Chief Justice to select the judge was the right thing to do, and to second-guess that is indeed reckless, as the Judge pronounced. This recklessness is letting evil abound in the State.
Why should the pursuit of wrongdoing in State Capture become a matter for citizen-led private prosecutions because of the failure of State justice instruments? We urge the State to act, to pursue and be seen to be pursuing cases with clear evidence of criminal acts of corruption and fraud. Do we or do we not have a prosecutorial system that serves the public interests rather than the personal interests of the President and his inner ring fingered in the Public Protector’s report? We charge that President Zuma’s personal interests are not South Africa’s National Interests for which our justice and prosecutorial services are intended. The crimes committed in the corrupt shenanigans of State Capture must be prosecuted without delay.
Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana is General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches.