All eyes on Constitution Hill, plus five highlights from ‘Vrye Weekblad’

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

14 May 2021 - 07:15 By TimesLIVE
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Former president Jacob Zuma at the Zondo commission.
Former president Jacob Zuma at the Zondo commission.
Image: Alon Skuy/Sunday Times

A month ago, former president Jacob Zuma was supposed to indicate to the Constitutional Court what he thinks would be a fitting punishment for his contempt of court. He didn't do it. 

Here we are in May in the year of our Lord 2021 with the country’s highest court in our sights.

We are anticipating one of the most significant judgments in our country’s history – about Zuma’s contempt of the court’s earlier finding that the former president was obliged to appear before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.

The application was brought in March by senior advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi on behalf of the commission. There would be no more mercy, was the message; Zuma had had plenty of opportunities to appear before the commission, which he had repeatedly scorned.

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At this point, the commission wasn’t all that fussed about his evidence regarding his own alleged involvement in state capture or his response to more than 40 witnesses who had implicated him before the commission. Jail – for two years – had to be in the offing.

Judgment was reserved, but in a directive dated April 9, Zuma was granted five days to tell the court what sanction he would consider appropriate should the court find him guilty of contempt.

But he didn't comply.

To observers better versed in the law, like former judge Johann van der Westhuizen, this wasn’t as unusual as it might appear to us.

He wrote: “Zuma’s antics do not create a constitutional crisis... [but] If his public support may create danger for law enforcement, the relevant agencies responsible for crime intelligence and counterterrorism must do their work properly.”

Zuma is no longer in charge of the country's armed forces. He is just a regular citizen and the law should take its course.

Read more about Zuma and the battle on Constitution Hill, and more news and analysis this week in Vrye Weekblad.

Must-read articles in this week’s Vrye Weekblad

THEIR PAIN IS OUR PAIN | We lament the loss of life in Israel, writes Michael Weeder, Dean of St George's Cathedral, and we are all, from Green Point and Sophiatown, the community of the Jerusalem suburb of Sheikh Jarrah.

MONUMENTAL ERROR | No, Ernst Roets, the Voortrekker Monument is not the most important in Africa.

THANK GOODNESS FOR RESOURCES | The sharp and steady rise of commodities is a windfall our economy badly needs. Given a more favourable political environment, this could mean a welcome change from historical trends.

FREE TO READ – BROKE AFTER 60 | A new book on holistic financial planning offers hope to those who may have left retirement planning a little – or a lot – too late.

AHOY, SAILOR! | With his good looks and prowess as a fighter pilot in World War 2, SA-born Sailor Malan had all the makings of a war hero. His opposition to apartheid, however, has largely been forgotten.

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