IFP calls on Jacob Zuma to ‘set the record straight’ by appearing at state capture inquiry
The IFP national executive committee (NEC) on Tuesday joined growing pleas for former president Jacob Zuma to appear before the state capture inquiry.
Zuma, who publicly defied a Constitutional Court order to appear before the inquiry chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, previously stated his decision was based on historical, personal and family relations with the chairperson.
This was a move IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa called “unlawful”.
“The IFP NEC notes the contempt of court and failure to appear before the commission by former president Zuma is unlawful and intentional. We therefore reiterate our call on the former president to submit himself before the commission to avoid the setting of a precedent that the former president, or any other citizen, is above the rule of law.
“We call on former president Zuma to lead by example and to submit his evidence before the commission as this inquiry was set up by him on instruction from the public protector to address matters relating to state capture. This is about the country and setting the record straight on state capture and endemic corruption, which have weakened state institutions and cost the country billions of rands in losses,” said Hlengwa.
The party said Zuma’s defiance would not serve his legacy and was likely to open floodgates of defiance.
“As a leader, former president Zuma’s actions have the potential to be emulated. It would certainly not serve his legacy for actions that are inconsistent with our constitution and democracy to be those he wants society to emulate,” Hlengwa said.
The sentiments come a day after the Jacob G Zuma Foundation accused Zondo of using his position to bend the rules in order to see the former president jailed. This despite Zuma having said he did not fear imprisonment.
In response to Zuma’s defiance, Zondo called on the apex court to impose a two-year jail term on the former president. This was to send a strong message and ensure no-one copied Zuma’s antics, he argued.
The foundation heavily criticised the move.
“This desperation of the deputy chief justice, abusing his position as the second in charge in the Constitutional Court, instructing his subordinates to bend the laws of this country, is unprecedented. He ignores process and jurisdiction as prescribed in law to ensure the state capture inquiry finds [former] president Zuma guilty by hook or crook to deliver him to some hidden masters.
“The 1947 [Commissions] Act talks about six months’ imprisonment or a 55 pound fine, not the two years’ imprisonment the honourable judge, who is chairing the commission alone, suggests,” said the foundation.
On March 25 the apex court is expected to hear an application by the state capture inquiry have Zuma declared to be in contempt of court.