President Jacob Zuma wants to postpone the court hearing on the former public protector’s state capture report‚ saying he needs time to respond to the late application to intervene by former African National Congress MP Vytjie Mentor.
The case — brought urgently last week — is schedule to be heard on Tuesday‚ November 1.
It is as yet unclear whether the other parties to the case — opposition parties the DA‚ EFF‚ UDM and COPE — would agree to the postponement.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s state capture investigation looked into whether there was an inappropriate relationship between the president‚ the Gupta family and other state officials.
Though Mentor’s allegations have been in the public domain for some time‚ Zuma’s response to her court papers could be the first time he responds — under oath — to the allegations.
He never answered questions sent by Madonsela‚ saying he had not been given enough time to do so.
It was on this basis that he went urgently to court‚ the day before the report was due to be released‚ to interdict the release.
However‚ he could also respond to Mentor by saying the substance of her allegations was not relevant to the interdict case.
Mentor filed her affidavit on Tuesday. In it she confirmed that the Gupta family had offered her a Cabinet post in exchange for furthering their business interests. Crucially‚ she put the president on the scene.
In her affidavit‚ she says: “As I was leaving‚ the president entered the room. I recounted the offer and advised him that I could not‚ in good conscience‚ accept the offer. The president responded and said‚ ‘It’s okay Ntombazana‚ you have come such a long way in crutches‚’ and saw me out.”
In a letter‚ sent on Wednesday from Zuma’s lawyers‚ state attorney Isaac Chowe said Zuma’s team would be opposing Mentor’s application‚ meaning the exchange of more affidavits.
“This obviously means that the matter will not be ripe for hearing on Tuesday November 1 2016‚” he said.
Chowe also refers to the latest affidavit from the public protector’s office — which confirmed that the report was a final report.