Democracy in Action loses court bid to prevent Ramaphosa from receiving State Capture Inquiry report

President Cyril Ramaphosa wants the High Court to clarify that it is his decision when to publicly release the state capture commission report Image: Cyril Ramaphosa via Twitter

The Gauteng High Court has struck from the roll an urgent application brought by Democracy in Action (DiA) to interdict acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo from handing over the first part of the State Capture Inquiry’s report to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The matter was struck from the roll with costs.

DiA went to court arguing that Ramaphosa was not the best person to receive the report because he had been implicated in testimony at the commission.

However, Judge Avrielle Maier-Frawley from the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg struck the matter from the roll on Tuesday morning.

Earlier in the morning, advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, representing the State Capture Inquiry, had argued that the matter should be struck from the roll with costs. He accused DiA of being “guilty of self-created urgency”.

He also said the move to block the release of the report to Ramaphosa was “reckless” and “frivolous”.

Ramaphosa had already received the electronic version of the report on 31 December and was expected to receive the original report on Tuesday afternoon.

“The applicant [DiA] came before this court because it does not want the report to be handed over to the third respondent [Ramaphosa]. The applicant is not separating whether it is the first part or second part or the third part [of the report], My Lady. However, it is referring to the report on the State Capture Commission as a whole, My Lady,” DiA’s lawyer, advocate Sizo Dlali, said.

He said just because the first part of the report had been handed to Ramaphosa electronically did not mean the matter was not urgent.

This matter should be entertained as an urgent application, and the applicant should be granted an interdict, Dlali, said.

However, Ngcukaitobi said DiA’s argument was “shoddy”.

He said when the Public Protector’s State of Capture report was released in 2016, it was made clear that the investigation report should be handed to the president.

He said:

The urgency is self-created. It is also clear that there are no legal grounds to this application at all. This is pure political posturing.

 

 

He also argued that the matter was “completely frivolous” because it was brought on “extreme short timelines”.

Ngcukaitobi said the court was dealing with “abuse” and it should not tolerate it. He stated that DiA should be slapped with a punitive costs order “to show displeasure with the way in which they have inconvenienced everyone for no good reason”.

He also said Ramaphosa was entitled to receive the report as there was a binding remedial action from the Public Protector.

“That binding remedial action was taken with [former] president [Jacob] Zuma in mind, who was a conflicted party. Despite the fact that he was a conflicted party, it was decided then that he should receive the report. So, even when there was a clear case of conflict, president Zuma was still entitled to receive them,” he added.

According to Ngcukaitobi, Ramaphosa was not receiving the report as an implicated party but as the head of state.

Tim Bruinders, SC, for Ramaphosa, said the matter should be struck from the roll, adding that there was no explanation for why it took DiA a year to bring the application.

“The matter is not urgent [and] it should be struck from the roll with costs.”

 

News 24

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