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Gosebo Mathope
3 minute read
26 Oct 2017
1:58 pm

#TBT: Madonsela reminds Zuma’s lawyer he’s not the president’s mouth

Gosebo Mathope

During the interview Zuma told parliament never took place, Madonsela reprimands Zuma's lawyer and reminds him he is not employed as the president's mouth.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Supplied/Moneyweb

President Jacob Zuma’s legal team has abandoned his application to the Pretoria High Court that former public protector Adv Thuli Madonsela’s remedial actions on the State of Capture report be reviewed.

In this week’s edition of Throwback Thursdaywe take a trip down the memory lane to almost a year ago. Madonsela was about to complete her seven-year nonrenewable term as the country’s third public protector.

Madonsela decided not to release the report during her final press briefing as public protector after receiving notice of two applications to interdict her, one from Zuma and the other from Cooperative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen.

Aptly titled The State of Capture, the interdicted report turned out to be new protector Adv Busisiwe Mkwebane’s baptism of fire into the Chapter 9 institution, whose head and deputy are constitutionally appointed by parliament.

The same goes for their removal. During this week, the ANC voted against a motion to hold an inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.

READ MORE: ANC MPs vote against parly inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office

Just like yesterday’s withdrawal, Zuma at first filed an application to interdict the report and later withdrew it.

A full bench of the High Court in Pretoria, which had in late October 2016 granted the DA, EFF, Cope and UDM leave to intervene in the Zuma application, had been set to hear arguments for and against the issuing of the findings.

Madonsela officially informed the public that the highly anticipated state capture report had been handed to speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete to keep it under lock and key: “We have given it to the speaker of parliament for safekeeping.”

Later in the evening, parliament released a statement saying Mbete had to table any documents received, and this particular report could not be handled in that manner. ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu contested the statement as false. He said he had met with Mbete, who denied accepting the report.

The report was nevertheless kept under lock and key in the National Assembly over the weekend and handed to Mkhwebane the following Monday.

Outgoing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela

Outgoing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela

Addressing the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on October 25, 2016, Zuma told MPs he interdicted the report because he had never met with the public protector to answer questions on state capture.

“But I think it is important for me to tell honourable members that as citizen of this country, I have a legal right to exercise my rights. And this is what I have done in terms of the public protector’s report. I interdicted it because she was going to issue a report having not talked to me or asked questions.

“And it is within my rights, in fact within the act of the public protector, that those who have questions have a right to do what I have done. It has nothing to do with ratings,” Zuma said to applause from ANC members, and chairperson Thandi Modise thanked him for the response.

‘You are employed as his adviser, but not as his mouth.’

A transcript and an audio recording of the interview would later be leaked, in which we hear Madonsela’s consternation with Zuma’s lawyer, Michael Hulley, who was present at the meeting.

“Please, can you stop talking for the president, Mr Hulley, I’m forbidding you from speaking. I’m not giving you an opportunity. I’m asking Mr President to address me. You are employed as his adviser, but not as his mouth,” Madonsela said in frustration.

Listen to the full interview below:


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