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Court to hear bids to prevent release of Madonsela's state capture report

President Zuma and Minister Van Rooyen have both made an attempt to prevent the release of the report.

FILE: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma and Co-operative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen have both approached the courts in a last minute attempt to prevent the release of the Public Protector's report on state capture.

It's understood the High Court in Pretoria will today hear two urgent applications for an interdict against Thuli Madonsela to prevent the release of her report on state capture.

The Gupta family is central in the case and Madonsela has been asked to investigate whether the controversial family had unduly influenced the president in terms of ministerial appointments.

Zuma is demanding Madonsela give him access to witnesses and evidence she's gathered in the probe, ahead of her departure from the Public Protector's office today.

Madonsela, whose term in office ends today, was due to release the highly anticipated report today - or at least certain parts of it that have been finalised - but "it's understood" she won't be releasing it based on advice from her lawyers.

Yesterday, she was served with a notice from the president for an application to interdict the release of the report, which is due to be heard on Tuesday.

Zuma released a statement this week asking Madonsela not to release the state capture report, saying he has not been given a reasonable opportunity to provide meaningful input into the investigation.

The lawyer representing the Guptas, says it would not be in good faith if the report was released today but there's been no intention for them to approach the courts.

There's been no indication at this stage on how her office will respond to the court interdicts.

Van Rooyen's urgent application is scheduled to be heard in court this morning.

Gert van der Merwe, who represents the Gupta family, has also urged Madonsela not to release the report, saying his clients weren't given a fair opportunity to look at the evidence or interview witnesses who implicate the family but they have decided not to approach the courts.

"We don't want to create the impression that we want to prevent a report, we want to support a report. I advised the Gupta family to wait for the report and if the report then contains adverse conclusions against them to take it on review.

"I'm convinced that proper processes, as far as my client was concerned, was not followed."

DA REACTS

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said the move shows President Zuma is worried about what is contained in the report and desperate to stop it from being made public.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane laid the complaint that led to the Public Protector investigating the Gupta family's influence over the government.

The DA's Mabine Seabe said: "We're of the strong view that this is desperate attempt by President Jacob Zuma to delay the inevitable, this points to someone who's been pushed in a corner and is now trying to get out."