South Africa

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Zuma snubs State Capture Commission again, pointing to pending ConCourt ruling

Zuma snubs State Capture Commission again, pointing to pending ConCourt ruling
Former president Jacob Zuma at the Zondo Commission on November 17, 2020 in Johannesburg. Zuma has approached the Constitutional Court to avoid answering to the commission. (Photo by Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo)

Jacob Zuma’s attorney has told the State Capture Commission that until the Constitutional Court has made a ruling compelling him to answer before it, he would not attend his scheduled appearance next week. 

Former president Jacob Zuma’s attorney, Eric Mabuza has written to inform the State Capture Commission that his client would not be appearing before the commission next week until the Constitutional Court has decided on the matter. 

Zuma was scheduled to appear at the commission from 18 to 22 January. 

In December, the Zondo Commission took Zuma to the Constitutional Court because he left a hearing when his application to have commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo recuse himself failed. 

Justice Zondo then also instructed the head of his legal team to lay a criminal charge against Zuma for leaving the commission without permission, which is a criminal offence.

Judgment was reserved in the Constitutional Court case.

In his letter, Mabuza told the commission: “We further wish to remind the Commission respectfully that its application to the Constitutional Court did not only deal with the appearance of President Zuma but included amongst others a request for an order that President Zuma should not be allowed to exercise his constitutional right to remain silent.

“It is therefore obvious that before any suggestion can be made about the appearance of President Zuma, the Commission must await the decision of the Constitutional Court which has a bearing on President Zuma’s appearance.”

In a statement issued after his walkout last year, Zuma’s foundation claimed, without evidence, that the former president refused to legitimise a process marred by irregularities and would rather not participate than be bullied.

“Zuma assures us that he would rather face jail than allow himself to be bullied by an irregular, manipulated and unlawful process,” said the Jacob Zuma Foundation.

Last year, when Zuma launched the application for Justice Zondo to recuse himself, he claimed the judge was biased as the two were friends. This application was dismissed by Justice Zondo, who denied both claims. Zuma has taken this matter on review. 

In a letter addressed to Professor Itumeleng Mosala, the commission’s secretary, Zuma’s attorney said that: “The Commission is aware that (former) President Zuma has instituted an application to review and set aside the refusal by Deputy Chief Justice Zondo to recuse himself from hearing matters concerning him and his family. The review application is yet to be determined by the court. In our respectful view, President Zuma can only be legally obliged to appear after his review application has been determined.”

Zuma’s attorney also accused the commission of bias. “We again place on record what we have previously stated regarding how the Commission continues to display conduct that shows clear bias against President Zuma. In this instance, the Commission now seeks to undermine a pending Constitutional Court judgment in pursuance of President Zuma.”

“Please be reminded that President Zuma enjoys no lesser rights than any other citizen of this country and the Commission has no powers whatsoever to act in a way that undermines President Zuma’s constitutional rights,” reads the letter. DM

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  • Michael Settas says:

    Fealty abounds with Eric Mabuza, as he perpetually refers to his client as ‘President’ in his written correspondence with the commission. Maybe he’s forgotten that Mr Zuma is now an ordinary citizen. Or maybe he perpetuates that salutation for the sake of hopeful leniency from Judge Zondo.

  • Christopher Campbell says:

    Why can’t Mabuza and all the fancy lawyers not be charged with obstruction of justice and wasting taxpayers money. These antics have to stop.

  • Sergio CPT says:

    It is time to really get tough and draw the line in the sand with this obnoxious Zuma and his equally obnoxious legal vultures. So far and no further! He has made a mockery of the law, the country and given the middle finger to every decent and law-abiding South African. He has had every opportunity to clear his name and have his day in court as he so often has stated for countless years now, and has done everything but. He should be put in prison now and let the onus fall on him and his legal team to prove his innocence.

  • Paddy Ross says:

    Why can’t the Constitutional Court do the obvious thing and pronounce their judgement on whether Mr Zuma must answer to the Zondo Commission?

  • Louis Potgieter says:

    Punitive costs have no effect on well-resourced litigants with the Stalingrad strategy. A system of demerits that reach a limit could be a counter. Will the rights of the Zumas trump the combined interests of the citizens of the country?

  • Bruce Kokkinn says:

    Since when does the tail wag the dog? Zuma must be dealt with as any normal citizen would be. We are used to Zuma’s delaying tactics. Arrest him!!!

  • Kanu Sukha says:

    I love the use of the term “respect/respectfully” used by attorneys in their correspondence. This is more often than not, followed by less than respectful allegations or insinuations! I guess that is not contradictory or inconsistent with legal ethics !

  • Chris Kirsten says:

    Anyone who regards this as a snub to the Commission lives in cloud cuckoo land.
    Snubs usually are unexpected. Zuma is staying exactly in character. He said it years ago; the law cannot tell politicians what for. Zondo is playing for justice to be seen to be done. The mill of life grinds slow, yet exceeding fine. Zuma remains a benefit to the country; in how things should NOT be done, exercising our justice system to the hilt. There are many men in history larger than life, yet this is grotesque. Bonaparte, the dark side. This is pivotal in the country’s history, but we will only understand it later.

  • Coen Gous says:

    I really do not understand the boo-haa of all this. Whether Zuma appears or not make no difference. He will not admit to anything. he is bound to frustrate Zondo and the evidence leader (s), with his legal council continuously interrupting crying: “Objection”! Only one thing can and must be done: He must be arrested for obstruction of justice. But that also will not happen, because the NPA, Zondo, Hawks, everybody involve in law enforcement, will be too scared. Just as nothing will ever be done in the US against Donald J Trump

    • Gerrie Pretorius Pretorius says:

      Only difference is when Trump leaves, someone else is in charge. In SA when zuma is ousted he is, for all practical purposes, still in charge.

  • Dhasagan Pillay says:

    I hope the written judgement requires some asterisks where letter are in words… describing the applicants and their issues or arrives with a fine and an arrest warrant.

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