Msholozi’s 'long walk to jail', plus five highlights from ‘Vrye Weekblad’

Here’s what’s hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

16 April 2021 - 06:48 By TimesLIVE
Former president Jacob Zuma has refused to obey the highest court in the land over his decision not to co-operate with the state capture inquiry.
Former president Jacob Zuma has refused to obey the highest court in the land over his decision not to co-operate with the state capture inquiry.

Jacob Zuma in an orange jumpsuit in cell seven with a tin plate and a toilet in one corner would be the logical and poetical conclusion of a long career of mismanagement, abuse of power, corruption and state capture, writes Max du Preez.

Hopes that 2021 might become the “year of the orange jumpsuits” may yet come true in dramatic fashion, and as soon as next week. And it will be a turning point in South African politics post-1994.

The judges of the Constitutional Court asked Zuma nicely to tell them what he considered suitable punishment for his refusal to obey an order of that court. And now he’s responded with a go-to-hell missive in which he declines to take part in their processes on the basis of conscientious objections.

The court has named today as the deadline for submissions about Zuma’s sentence. This means in all likelihood that the court has already decided to find him guilty. No new evidence or submissions are expected, so could it take the court more than a few days to sentence Zuma?

Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, and perhaps a few other judges in the court, will likely be very reluctant to sentence the former president to jail time – perhaps as many as two years as judge Raymond Zondo has suggested.

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But if the court imposes a fine or a suspended sentence, it will precipitate an even bigger crisis.

Zuma’s sustained contempt for the highest court in the land and for the judicial commission of enquiry into state capture – and his extreme insults to senior judges – have no precedent in our legal system. Anything other than jail time, even if it is only for a couple of months, would fling open the door for others to treat court orders with contempt, and would severely undermine the rule of law.

The honourable judges cannot afford to overlook the context of this case. There is now an onslaught on the judiciary such as has never been seen before. It is the duty of the highest court in the land to protect it because it is the strongest pillar of our democracy.

Read more about this, plus more news and analysis in this week's issue of Vrye Weekblad.

Must-read articles in this week’s Vrye Weekblad

COVID WINNERS AND LOSERS | Those economic sectors that benefited from the pandemic may continue to thrive in the post-Covid era, but for the tourism sector, the pandemic cannot end soon enough.

PRIVATE MONEY | With so many urgent problems threatening to overwhelm us daily, it’s easy to overlook that SA’s infrastructure crisis urgently needs private capital and skills.

PARTY POOPER | Stricter and fairer legislation about political party funding could in theory leave less room for corruption, but we're not holding our breath. 

WHAT NEXT FOR MAGDA? | Sygnia’s founder and majority shareholder has announced that she will step down as CEO. She talks about what she plans to do next.

MARIKE'S LAST HOUR | Marike de Klerk was murdered in her flat in Table View, Cape Town, nearly 20 years ago. Elsabé Brits, who reported on the case, looks back at how it unfolded in court.