Zuma court appeal seeks to control appointment of prosecution boss

POOL New  Reuters                       President Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma has been held personally liable for all legal costs in his challenge over the Public Protector's State of Capture report and was lambasted by a judge for an "unreasonable stance adopted" by a president.

As such, the Court ordered Zuma to personally pay the legal costs of his failed attempt to interdict the release of the State of Capture report in October 2016 - an historic move by the court.

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.

In that event, the ruling will be delayed until the appeal is heard and a decision made.

Zuma has applied to the full bench of the high court for leave to appeal Friday's judgment in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Zuma has survived several votes of no-confidence in parliament.

The ruling came days before a crucial elective conference of the governing African National Congress (ANC), where Zuma is due to step down as leader.

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"The commission of inquiry is to be given powers of evidence collection that are not less than that of the Public Protector", Mlambo ruled.

Zuma had tried to block the publication of the report arguing that he had not been granted enough opportunity to respond to the charges.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the party "welcomes" the judgment in relation to the remedial action, specifically relating to the appointment of the judicial commission of inquiry.

The business family of Indian origin is accused of having undue influence over Zuma's government, including power over the appointment of some cabinet ministers.

"The judgment lays out a timeline. we hope to get to the bottom of this", Maimane said, adding that his party would oppose any appeal in the case should Zuma launch one.

The judge found that Zuma was compromised, and had a "clear personal interest in the outcome of the inquiry", and was at the center of the state capture report.

Her 355-page report, titled "State of Capture", stopped short of asserting that crimes had been committed, saying the watchdog lacked the resources to reach such conclusions and recommended that they be investigated by a judicial inquiry. Zuma is appealing that ruling.

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