Lawyers to argue Zuma shouldn’t foot bill in state capture case

Jacob Zuma has filed an application for leave to appeal ruling which ordered him to set up a commission of inquiry into state capture.

Jacob Zuma ahead of the announcement of the ANC's new top 6 on 18 December 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

PRETORIA - Counsel for President Jacob Zuma are set to argue that he should not be personally lumped with the costs of his failed State of Capture review because he pursued the matter in his official capacity.

Zuma has filed an application for leave to appeal the ruling which ordered him to set up a commission of inquiry into state capture, as per the Public Protector's remedial action.

The court further found Zuma was reckless, unreasonable and ill-advised.

President Zuma’s legal team says the court made an error in law to make him personally pay for the costs of the application because he was not cited in his personal capacity or given an opportunity to explain his conduct.

The lawyers say Zuma approached the court to settle a concern related to the separation of powers but, instead, the court found that he was reckless, unreasonable and ill-advised to do so.

The president persists with the argument that neither the Public Protector Act nor the Constitution empowers the Public Protector to confer powers to a commission of inquiry.

They say the Constitution confers the powers to establish a commission of inquiry solely to the president.

President Zuma is persisting with his argument that he cannot be instructed how to exercise his executive authority, saying to do so amounts to a breach of the separation of powers.

His legal team argues that the full bench made a mistake by finding that the president can be dictated to.

Zuma objects to the findings that the president’s powers can be curtailed if he is conflicted, which the court found because he is the subject of numerous allegations in the Public Protector’s report.

The legal team adds that the Public Protector made no findings of fact yet the court impermissibly elevated untested suspicions as fact.