South Africa's Zuma Seeks to Dodge Critical Report After Surviving No-Confidence Attempt

Published: 05 December 2016

Jacob Zuma 2014 cropped

South African President Jacob Zuma (Photo: U.S. Department of State) 

By Matthew Beinart

South African President Jacob Zuma filed a court motion on Friday to shunt away a critical ombudsman’s report, just days after surviving an attempted no-confidence vote by senior members of his ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Zuma filed the motion with the court in the province of Gauteng arguing that the critical “State of Capture” report by former public protector Thuli Madonsela, released in early November, contained recommendations that went against the constitution’s separation of powers.

The report detailed allegations of high-level corruption and influence peddling, and directed the president to set up an inquiry headed by the country’s chief justice to look into its findings.

Zuma, however, said the ombudsman had no power to instruct the president.

“The public protector is directing remedial action in areas which the constitution has left to the executive,” Zuma was quoted as saying by local media.

Zuma’s motion comes after he defeated an attempt on Tuesday to call a no-confidence vote initiated by senior ANC members that could have led to his ousting.

“The ANC’s failure to remove the president or outline a plan to bring him to book suggests that the party is not serious about fostering accountability and fighting corruption,” South African political analyst Ongama Mtimka wrote Friday.

“This does not bode well for confidence in the South African political system and economy.”