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[UPDATE] Zuma's State of Capture about-turn

The president had asked the court to set aside the remedial action which instructed him to establish a commission of enquiry led by a judge appointed by the Chief Justice.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

PRETORIA - In a dramatic about-turn in the High Court President Jacob Zuma’s legal team has abandoned his request that should his state capture review application be successful that the report be sent back to the Public Protector for further investigation.

The president has asked the court to set aside the remedial action which instructed him to establish a commission of enquiry led by a judge appointed by the Chief Justice.

But shortly before the president’s legal team wrapped up, the court was told that they were abandoning one key aspect of the relief they were seeking.

Judge president Dunstan Mlambo questioned advocate Ishmael Semenya about the president’s statements in Parliament that he intends to establish a commission of inquiry.

Mlambo said: “What do we take of the relief you seek is that send it back ... does it presuppose that sending it back and I’ll continue sitting back and doing nothing?”

“I understand it squarely, no. that relief we can’t persist with it ... of the remittal." Semenya responded.

Opposition counsel have argued that this means if Zuma wins his application there can be no adequate remedy because the court has heard that the president may not appoint a judge to preside over a case in which he is implicated.

The matter has adjourned for the parties to decide on how to address this issue.

The High Court has given the opposition legal team until Friday to file additional arguments after the president abandoned a key aspect of the relief he'd initially sought.

Judge President Mlambo has asked the parties to file their additional arguments on the legal effect and consequences of President Zuma abandoning an aspect of the relief.

Advocate Steven Budlender earlier told the court of the difficulty this development had created.

“They can’t get a remedy from the Public Protector because it’s reviewed and set aside. They can’t get it from the president either because the only remedy he offers is that he will pick the commission and he will do it. What that demonstrates is the untenability of this man’s commission_." _
The court has reserved judgment but hopes to make a ruling before the end of the year.