South Africa


Zuma is not afraid of arrest or jail, but won’t appear before ‘apartheid-style’ Zondo Commission, says Zuma

Former president Jacob Zuma claims the country has a separate set of laws it applies only to him and his family. EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA / POOL

Last week the Constitutional Court ruled that the former president will have to appear before the State Capture Commission. Zuma has now hit back, saying the commission, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, should have been named ‘Allegations of State Capture against Jacob Zuma’ because it is targeting him, a situation he says is reminiscent of apartheid.

“I do not fear being arrested, I do not fear being convicted, nor do I fear being incarcerated. I joined the struggle against the racist apartheid government and the unjust oppression of black people by whites in the country at a very young age.

“As a result, I was sentenced in December 1963 to serve 10 years on Robben Island at the age of 21. Thereafter, I continued to be at the forefront of the liberation struggle within the ranks of the African National Congress and Umkhonto weSizwe in exile until my return to South Africa in the early 90s. In all the years of struggle I had never imagined that there would come a time when a democratic government in South Africa built on constitutional values would behave exactly like the apartheid government in creating legal processes designed to target specific individuals in society.”

These are the words of Jacob Zuma.

In a highly charged statement on Monday the former president said the country had a separate set of laws it was applying only to him and his family.

He often refers to himself in the third person in the six-page statement, which follows a week of testimony at the State Capture Commission, during which a volley of accusations was made that the country’s State Security Agency had been totally skewered to benefit Zuma and his allies.

Zuma’s statement:

The statement did not address those accusations specifically, but was a reaction to Thursday’s Constitutional Court ruling that he must appear before the commission.

This comes after he left proceedings in November without permission.

Zuma hit back on Monday, saying the court ruling “mimics the posture of the commission in that it has now also created a special and different set of circumstances specifically designed to deal with Zuma by suspending my constitutional rights rendering me completely defenceless against the commission”.

He said the situation was reminiscent of apartheid.

“This conjures up memories of how the apartheid government passed the General Laws Amendment Act 37 in 1963 which introduced a new clause of indefinite detention specifically intended to be used against then PAC leader, Robert Sobukwe,” he said.

“The parallels are too similar to ignore given that Sobukwe was specifically targeted for his ideological stance on liberation. I, on the other hand, am the target of propaganda, vilification and falsified claims against me for my stance on the transformation of this country and its economy.”

Zuma went further, saying the commission should have been named the “Allegations of State Capture against Jacob Zuma as it has been obviously established to investigate me specifically”.

He said he had never said he did not want to appear before the commission, but that he could not appear before its chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Zuma previously applied for the recusal of Zondo as commission chairperson.

One of his reasons was that Zondo was a friend of his.

In a previous response, Zondo had stated that they had never socialised together and were, therefore, not friends.

Zuma, in his statement on Monday, said he could not appear before Zondo “because of a well-founded apprehension of bias and a history of personal relations between the Deputy Chief Justice and myself”.

“I have taken the decision by the Deputy Chief Justice not to recuse himself on review as I believe his presiding over the proceedings does not provide me the certainty of a fair and just hearing.”

Zuma lamented that those close to him were suffering because of the state’s stance against him.

“The wrath visited upon me as an individual knows no bounds as my children and those known to be close to me have been specifically targeted and harassed to the extent that they all have had their bank accounts closed for no particular reason other than that they are known to be associated to me.

“The government and the justice system have turned a blind eye to these and many other injustices simply because they target Zuma. Anything bearing the name Zuma can enjoy no legal rights or protection in this country as the grand agenda to have special and different laws that only apply to Zuma continues to manifest. In the circumstances, I am left with no other alternative but to be defiant against injustice as I did against the apartheid government. I am again prepared to go to prison to defend the constitutional rights that I personally fought for and to serve whatever sentence that this democratically elected government deems appropriate as part of the special and different laws for the Zuma agenda.”

The former president said “overwhelming messages of support” from members of the ANC and public – “following the recent extraordinary and unprecedented decision of the Constitutional Court where it effectively decided that I as an individual citizen could no longer expect to have my basic constitutional rights protected and upheld by the country’s Constitution” – had persuaded him to issue Monday’s statement.

“With this groundswell of messages, I felt moved to publicly express solidarity with the sentiments and concerns raised with me about a clearly politicised segment of the judiciary that now heralds an imminent constitutional crisis in this country.”

The most recent summonses issued to Zuma required him to appear at the commission from 15 to 19 February 2020.

In a separate matter, Zuma is due back in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 23 February on racketeering, money laundering and corruption charges related to the Arms Deal. A warrant of arrest was issued in that case in February 2020 after Zuma skipped a court appearance but it was withdrawn after he produced a doctor’s letter confirming he was ill.



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All Comments 21

  • Shock, horror surprise.
    He imagines he will split society and his shock troops will sweep the forces of Democracy and those anti Zuma zealots away
    Not sure about that.

  • What an idiotic statement from Zuma, but then again, one has come to expect such nonsense from one so devious. The Zondo commission has ZERO to do with apartheid but everything to do with state capture ie corruption on a mammoth scale that has bankrupted the country and left it a wasteland. And you, Zuma, were the mafia don who made it all possible and were heavily involved. Don’t confuse the issue and try to act the victim – the public aren’t stupid and have had enough of your lies and delaying tactics. Be a man for once and prove your innocence as you claim you are.

  • I’m delighted that Mr Zuma does not ‘fear’ being arrested, convicted or incarcerated, as that is precisely what should happen if what is left of our criminal justice system functions even slightly.
    One way or another one feels that we are in the final episodes of the final season of his treasonous project. We can only hope.

  • All as expected. Pains me to see him even mention Robert Sobukwe in a sentence drafted by him.. Oh for the days when we had leaders in the ANC who truly had the best interests of the country at heart and who had the courage to do what was right.. Sadly most of them have left us and the rest are aging rapidly.
    Just waiting for the next act… MKMVA – appearing on our screens soon!
    Would love to know who these messages of support are from? All those who have also been “wrongly” accused of benefitting from his generosity and who fear that the cupboard is now empty?

  • If anyone believes that the ANC would let an ex Robben Island inmate back into prison, are extremely optimistic. Even if he gets convicted, a pardon from CR himself is almost guaranteed. The ANC will look after their own first, as we have seen over and over again.

  • I think he is busy setting himself up to be a martyr of the radical economic transformation movement. (RET just another name for liars, thieves, plunderers etc.)

  • NOW COMES THE REAL TEST: Will the following have the guts to stand up to: 1.) Zuma’s refusal to be a witness at the State Capture Commission, especially after the Constitutional Court rules that he has to attend, and 2.) Arthur Fraser decision to lay a charge of perjury against various witnesses at the Commission, as well member of the legal team at the Commission.
    1. The President of the country, Mr Cyril Ramhaposa;
    2. ANC members in parlement, including current ministers and deputy ministers;
    3. The State Capture Commission itself
    4. The Hawks
    5. The NPA
    This is a defining moment. What will the do? Will they stand up for South Africa , or will they let a few criminals still rule the country. Failure to do that, will make them guilty of treason, and/or become part of the criminal and mafia network that was established by Zuma

  • Don’t get excited folks, he will probably be charged, get bail and then start appealing every judgement and he will probably die before being convicted and sentenced.

  • On first view this beggars the question; Does this man not understand this is not a court of law, it is a commission of inquiry like the TRC? Oh yes, he flouted that one too. And he has actually constituted it. Wow! Now he attacks the presiding judge. Then again, he has nothing else left. Must be terribly desperate. Tweegatjakkals. Hunt him at this hole, he escapes at the other one to the den. Cave in all the other holes and send in the terriers.