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JOHANNESBURG, The Public Protector (Ombudsman), Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has backed a court application by the Democratic Alliance (DA), South Africa's main opposition party, to compel President Jacob Zuma to establish a commission of inquiry into State capture.

The DA had approached the court on grounds that delaying the inquiry further is tantamount to undermining the nation's Constitution. State capture is the term used locally to describe the exercise of undue influence over high officials of the State by people with vested interests.

In October last year, the former public protector, Thuli Madonsela, recommended in her report on State capture that President Zuma appoint a commission of inquiry headed by a judge, selected by the Chief Justice, within 30 days.

The President has since lodged a review application to set aside the whole report. The lawyer representing the public protector, Hamilton Manetje, says they agree with the DA that the court should instruct the President to set up the commission of inquiry as a matter of urgency, because the matter is in the public interest.

He said Tuesday that the court should not allow President Zuma to take the law into his own hands by allowing him to decide a convenient way of handling the remedial action of the Public Protector.

Manetje said the President's counter application that the remedial action be stayed until the review is completed had no merit and should be set aside. The case continues.


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