News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
27 Mar 2017
7:34 pm

Zuma applies to intervene in Gupta case, says bank is ‘abusing court process’

Ilse de Lange

The president said Standard Bank was using Pravin Gordhan's application to stop Cabinet from exercising its executive powers.

President Jacob Zuma. (Photo by Gallo Images / Thapelo Maphakela)

President Jacob Zuma has accused Standard Bank of abusing the court process to stop him and other members of Cabinet from exercising their executive powers.

The president, through the office of the State Attorney, applied to be added as an intervening party to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s application in the High Court in Pretoria for an order declaring that he cannot interfere with the decision of South Africa’s four major banks not to do business with the Guptas and their companies.

Standard Bank said in its replying affidavit it would seek an order declaring that no member of the National Executive, including President Zuma and all members of Cabinet, was empowered to intervene in any manner whatsoever in any decision taken by the bank to terminate its banking relationships with the Guptas’ Oakbay Investments and its associated entities.

State attorney Kgosi Gustav Lekala said in an affidavit, the relief sought by Standard Bank directly affected the president and other members of Cabinet in their official capacities.

“In effect, it is an attempt to engage the power of the court to order the President and other members of Cabinet not to exercise their executive powers in a manner that Standard Bank would not want them to exercise those powers,” he said.

He said neither the president nor other members of Cabinet were parties to the Finance Minister’s application and if Standard Bank wanted to pursue its proposed relief, it was obliged to take steps to have the president and all Cabinet members included.

He said Standard Bank could not, under the circumstances, seek relief and its bid should be struck off the roll with costs because of its “irregular” attempt to seek relief against the president.

Oakbay subsidiary Sahara Computers, in court papers, accused Gordhan of trying to co-opt the court to aid him in his political battle with Zuma and Cabinet.

Sahara said all of the respondents agreed with the minister that he had no power to intervene in private banking relationships between banks and their clients, but he nevertheless persisted with his application; an application that should never have been before court to “score political points”.

Gordhan using courts in political fight against Zuma, Gupta company alleges

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