Tito Mboweni vouches for Zuma: 'I don't think he wants to undermine our hard-fought freedoms'

11 March 2021 - 09:18
Finance minister Tito Mboweni. File photo.
Finance minister Tito Mboweni. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times

Finance minister Tito Mboweni on Wednesday vouched for Jacob Zuma, saying that given the former president's struggle credentials, he doesn't believe he wants to “undermine our hard-fought freedoms”. 

“Whatever his shortcomings, Jacob Zuma, myself and others were in the deep, deep underground together. I don’t think that he wants to undermine our hard-fought freedoms. I know him. I first met him in Lesotho during the difficult times. Hard times,” the minister tweeted on Wednesday.

The Zondo inquiry into state capture had expected to hear evidence from the former president between February 15 and 19, but he failed to appear in defiance of a Constitutional Court order. A letter issued by his legal team said the summons issued by the commission was irregular. It also cited Zuma's “historical kinship” to Zondo as another reason for his defiance.

Zondo condemned Zuma's defiance as the commission asked the Constitutional Court to issue an order for Zuma's arrest if he is found to be in contempt of its order.

The ANC NEC held a Zoom meeting with Zuma on Monday as it sought to convince him to change his stance. Secretary-general Ace Magashule told a media briefing that Zuma had made an “extensive” presentation about his reasons for defying the court order. The former president said he did not have a problem with the commission but Zondo, who he asked to recuse himself because of their history.

Magashule, who described the meeting as “positive”, said the top six decided to give the former president “space” to discuss the matter further with his legal team.

Mboweni's tweet garnered hundreds of comments. One user told the minister to convince Zuma to “do the right thing”. Others said struggle credentials should not be used to escape accountability.


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