'Set up state capture inquiry'

President Jacob Zuma had tried to dodge implementing the recommendations contained in a scathing 2016 report by South Africa's corruption watchdog. By GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

'Set up state capture inquiry'

South Africa's High Court ruled that a commission of inquiry into allegations that President Jacob Zuma allowed the Gupta family to influence state decisions be set up within 180 days, as the graft ombudsman ordered previous year, dealing Zuma a third legal blow in less than a week.

So deep was the full bench's disgust with Zuma that it took the unusual step of ordering him to pay his own costs for the interdict application - the first time a South African president has been sanctioned in this way. Importantly, the court found that the tax payer can not be burdened with paying the costs of the unreasonable and unnecessary litigation.The costs of the litigation are to be calculated from 14 October 2016.

Zuma had challenged the right of the report's author to call for a judicial inquiry and the appointment by the chief justice of a judge to head it. Zuma said it was his prerogative whether to set up such an inquiry.

The Pretoria High Court on Wednesday ordered Zuma to personally settle the legal bill for his failed review into the Public Protector's state of capture report. Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta and Zuma denied wrongdoing.

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Zuma's action in seeking to overturn the recommendation was "ill-advised and reckless" and the application was a "clear non-starter", Mlambo said in a unanimous ruling of the court.

Zuma was ordered to pay the costs of his latest court challenge.

Thuli Madonsela, the report's author who was also at the court, said: "An allegation that the state has been captured in the interests of the president and his friends is an allegation that needs to be investigated immediately".

The ANC welcomed the judgment, saying it brought the country a step closer to the implementation of its national executive committee resolution directing that the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture be established without delay.

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