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It is understandable why President Jacob Zuma’s office is procrastinating over the terms of reference for the judicial commission of inquiry on state capture. Although there is a mountain of allegations and evidence in the public domain on the Gupta network’s pillaging of the state, the judicial commission chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo will have to zero in on one of the key issues: the president’s involvement.Whatever legal gymnastics and phraseology the presidency resorts to, Zuma’s conduct will be the subject of scrutiny and he will most likely have to appear before the commission. Zuma, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, and Gupta defenders had wanted the scope of the inquiry broadened to examine the corrupting role of business historically. But the judgment of the North Gauteng High Court in December narrowed the parameters to the remedial action of Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report. That report requires that Zuma’s role become central to the commission...

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