DA considers laying charge against Zuma for lying under oath
The Democratic Alliance says it is considering whether to lay perjury charges against President Jacob Zuma for lying under oath.
The DA on Sunday submitted its answering affidavit to the North Gauteng High Court to oppose two applications brought by Zuma on Saturday regarding the interdict of the Public Protector’s Final Report into State Capture.
In the first application‚ the President has sought to amend the relief he seeks and supplement his founding affidavit. In the second‚ he has sought to postpone the hearing of the matter on Tuesday‚ 1 November 2016. “The DA has argued that these applications to amend and postpone are best described as bad faith‚ technical manoeuvres that seek merely to delay the hearing of this matter‚ and thereby delay the release of the Public Protector’s final report into serious allegations of unethical and unconstitutional conduct by the President‚” DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Sunday. He charged that Zuma’s conduct had been characterised by delays and non-compliance‚ as evidenced by the following:
- He did not file his heads of argument on 27 October 2017 as required by the order of 14 October 2016; - On Friday‚ 28 October 2016‚ the Deputy Judge President issued directions requiring the President‚ if he intended to seek a postponement‚ to bring the application by 18:00 that day. The President did not do so;
- Instead‚ the President opted to ignore the deadline‚ and requested to bring his application for postponement by 11:00 on Saturday‚ 29 October 2016; - After the Deputy Judge President granted his request to do so‚ the President again did not comply. Instead he filed his application to amend at 13:50‚ and his application for postponement at 15:00;
- The President has still not compiled with the Court’s direction that he answer the intervention application by Ms Vytjie Mentor.
The DA has also argued that the President has lied to the North Gauteng High Court. “In response to the DA’s founding affidavit‚ the President noted that should it later transpire that the report is final‚ then the report should be released. If necessary‚ he added‚ he would have a right to review the findings of the report. “The President has now claimed that the concession that the Report should be released if final is a ‘typographical error’. He apparently meant to say that ‘in that event the report should not be released’. “This is a blatant lie. It has been manufactured in an attempt to justify his attempt to abuse the court’s process by amending his relief. A number of factors substantiate this claim‚ including:
- The DA wrote to the President on 24 October 2016. It pointed out that the President had conceded that the Report should be released if final‚ and that the Public Protector confirmed the report was final. The DA proposed an order by agreement to avoid further unnecessary costs.
- The Public Protector responded the next day again confirming that the Report was final and clarified the uncertainty which the President was relying on. - The President‚ at this stage‚ filed a replying affidavit on 25 October 2016. He had‚ at this stage‚ has full sight of the DA’s letter. If there had been a typographical error‚ he could have pointed it out at this stage.
- On 28 October‚ the President’s attorneys wrote a letter to the DA‚ replying to our proposal for an order by agreement‚ declining the option.
Again‚ if there was a typographical error‚ this was the correct place to point it out. “His claims that it was an error is a blatant lie. It is a transparent and calculated attempt to justify the applications for postponement and amendment. It is telling that the President is willing not only to abuse court processes‚ but to lie under oath in order to prevent the release of the Report‚” Maimane said. He added that the DA was considering whether to lay perjury charges against the President for lying under oath. “The President’s conduct deserves the strongest condemnation. His attempt to prevent the report violates both the DA’s rights‚ in terms of the Public Protector Act‚ to have sight of the final report‚ as well as the Public Interest‚” Maimane added.
He said the DA had accordingly asked the Court for the following order:
- The DA’s application to intervene is granted;
- The President’s applications to postpone and to amend his relief are dismissed;
- The Public Protector is ordered to immediately release the Final Report into the complaint laid by the DA on 18 March 2016;
- The President is ordered to pay the DA’s costs in his personal capacity;
- The President is ordered to pay his own counsel’s fees in his personal capacity.
“The DA will continue to do everything possible to ensure that the State Capture report sees the light of day‚ and the President is held accountable for his efforts to undermine the Rule of Law and the investigations of a Chapter Nine institution‚” said Maimane.