5 Reasons Zuma Won’t Establish A Commission Of Inquiry
President Jacob Zuma says he’s not opposed to establishing a Commission of Inquiry on state capture but, hinted he wouldn’t allow it.
Acknowledging media reports claiming the President is opposed to the implementation of the remedial action of the former Public Protector as contained in the State of Capture report relating to the establishment of a judicial Commission of Inquiry, the Presidency asserted that the claims are incorrect.
According to the Presidency, President Zuma believes some of the remedial actions directed by the Public Protector are irregular, unlawful and unconstitutional.
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It was disclosed that the legal advice Zuma obtained on the issue indicated that the remedial action on the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry undermines the separation of powers doctrine.
The Constitution gives the power to appoint a commission of inquiry to the President, which she/he must exercise when the President holds a view that a matter of public concern requires such a process, contended the Presidency.
Below are other reasons why President Zuma won’t allow the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry.
1. Nobody Has The Right To Command Zuma
Zuma is the first citizen of South Africa, and he won’t be ordered around.
President Zuma in the state capture report was not only directed to appoint a Commission of Inquiry. He was also told the kind of commission he should appoint and the process he must follow in appointing it.
That, according to the Presidency, “contravenes section 84(2) (f) of the Constitution which leaves it open for the President to choose what type of a commission of inquiry should be established, whether it should be a judicial commission of inquiry or any other commission.
“The remedial action has made that choice for the President, which is impermissible in law,” upheld the Presidency.
2. Only Zuma Can Decide When To Institue A Commission Of Inquiry
The Presidency said the former Public Protector decided this matter for the President through her remedial action.
“This…renders the remedial action unconstitutional and invalid. Section 84(2) (f) of the Constitution leaves it to the President to determine what particular matter of public concern should trigger the exercise of the power to institute a commission of inquiry,” the Presidency argued.
Again, the Presidency pointed out that the power to determine the timelines for the establishment of the commission and its terms of reference is with the President.
“The remedial action,” it said, “impermissibly dictates when such a commission should be established and its terms of reference. This is irregular and invalid.”
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3. Zuma Won’t Allow The Abuse Of Power
The remedial action the former Public Protector recommended asked for the abuse of power and Zuma, as the President of South Africa won’t allow that to happen.
It’s known that the remedial action directed that the institution of a judicial commission of inquiry, must be presided over by a judge solely selected by the Chief Justice.
That’s a power which the Chief Justice does not have under the Constitution, said the Presidency.
“Nowhere does the Constitution or the Public Protector Act give such a power to a Public Protector or a judge. The remedial action, in its content, therefore has no lawful basis. (It) is unconstitutional and invalid,” affirmed the Presidency.
4. The Former PP’s Unwillingness To Let Her Successor Continue The Investigation
The Presidency also contended that the decision underpinning the remedial action, which is to outsource it, is irrational.
“The only conceivable deduction to be made is that the former Public Protector’s term of office was coming to an end and she was unwilling for the Office of the Public Protector to continue with the investigation outside her control,” stated the Presidency.
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5. Zuma Wants The Constitution Interpreted Rightly
Referring to the foregoing, the Presidency maintained that Zuma’s application for review of the Public Protector’s report doesn’t suggest he’s opposed to the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry.
“What is at stake is the interpretation of the Constitution on a matter as fundamental as the powers of the Head of State and Government and the relationship of the executive branch with other branches.
“The review challenge is therefore aimed at clarifying and strengthening our constitutional jurisprudence on the roles of the Executive, the Judiciary and Chapter 9 institutions,” buttressed the Presidency.