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Why take a year to seek legal recourse, judge asks group challenging state capture handover to Ramaphosa

Democracy in Action approached the high court to prevent the handover of the state capture inquiry report by acting chief justice Raymond Zondo, pictured, to President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo.
Democracy in Action approached the high court to prevent the handover of the state capture inquiry report by acting chief justice Raymond Zondo, pictured, to President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Johannesburg high court judge Avrielle Maier-Frawley has questioned the timing of Democracy in Action’s bid to block Tuesday’s handover of part one of the state capture inquiry report to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The court is hearing arguments on the urgency of the matter.  

Democracy in Action approached the high court on an urgent basis on Monday with the intention to interdict acting chief justice Raymond Zondo from handing the report to Ramaphosa, arguing he had been “implicated” by witnesses at the inquiry and was thus not best-suited to receive the report. 

The president is in possession of an electronic copy of the report. However, a ceremonial handover is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, when the president will be handed a hard copy of the first report of the inquiry’s three-part findings. 

Representing the state capture inquiry, advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi labelled the case by Democracy in Action as a “reckless and frivolous challenge”. 

“This is self-created urgency and the case should be struck from the roll with costs,” Ngcukaitobi said. 

The judge asked: “From January 2021, the applicant formed the view the president has been implicated and would not be the right person to receive the report. But they sought no legal recourse and waited a year to bring proceedings, on the eve of the ceremonial handover of the report. Why the delay?”

Advocate Sizo Dlali, who is representing Democracy in Action, said his clients tried to engage with the inquiry to raise their objections but received no response.

Dlali maintained they should not be punished by the court for not bringing the case sooner.

“The delay in instituting proceedings should not be seen as self-created urgency. The applicant tried to engage with the first and second respondents numerous times and received no joy.”

Advocate Timothy Bruinders, acting on behalf of the president and deputy president, also asked the court to strike the case from its roll as it lacked urgency. 

The hearing continues. 

TimesLIVE

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