I was the target of his abuse, says Zuma taking swipe at chief justice Raymond Zondo

22 October 2022 - 17:22
By Amanda Khoza
Former president Jacob Zuma held a media briefing in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Image: Alaister Russell Former president Jacob Zuma held a media briefing in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Former president Jacob Zuma says he has always known he was the main target of the state capture commission.

“From the start of the state capture commission it became clear to me that [chief] justice (Raymond) Zondo, as chair of the commission, was not interested in establishing the truth, but was himself involved in building up the narrative of the state capture.”

Flanked by his attorney advocate Dali Mpofu, daughter Duduzile Zuma and Jacob G Zuma Foundation board chair Dudu Myeni, Zuma said while his 15-month prison sentence expired on October 7, he fears some want him back in jail.

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“Justice Zondo was not a neutral judge leading a fact-finding commission, but was running a process of writing a report that would establish the guilt of all those who had been accused of state capture because of their known association to me. In my view, justice Zondo failed the test of his oath of office.

“The fact that he is now sitting at the helm of our judiciary should be a matter of great concern,” he said.

“The state capture commission was never about uncovering the truth about the commercial interests that have been influencing government policies and decisions ever since the establishment of our democracy in 1994.

“My imprisonment came as part of a long campaign aimed at removing me as president and punishing me for having not been a darling of the commercial interests that seek to profit at the expense of our poor people.”

Zuma believes the Constitutional Court had no jurisdiction to send him to prison for 15 months for contempt of court for failing to appear before the commission.

“The Constitutional Court does not have such overriding powers to willy-nilly send people to jail. That, in my view, is a travesty of justice and it must be exposed and be rectified by the justice system.”

He maintained there was a gross misuse of power in the justice system and “if I should be imprisoned for these beliefs, so be it. As I expressly indicated before my incarceration without a trial, I have been arrested by the apartheid regime. I said then, I don’t fear prison.”

Having used his jail sentence to reflect, Zuma accused Zondo of not being honest about their relationship and using the opportunity as chair of the commission to advance his career. 

The commission, he said, was only interested in pursuing “targeted individuals that had been pronounced guilty of state capture by the media. Certain leaders were declared saints in the media and the state capture commission was not interested in anything that implicated them.”

Zuma added that in its final report the commission takes away the ANC’s ability to implement party policies in government by suggesting cadre deployment is unconstitutional.

“I find this strange that such would be said because every party that wins an election appoints its own members to key leadership positions in the state. The cabinet appointed by the president is normally from members of his own party. That is cadre deployment.”

He alleged it was clear how “our constitution is being manipulated to advance colonial interests at the expense of the ambitions of the democracy and the need for an equal society”.

The former president added he’s always been upfront about the “unlawful establishment” of the commission and “I told justice Zondo that those who supported the commission, irrespective of its unlawful establishment, did not care about the constitution and would use an unlawful device as the Zondo commission to advance their interests in hijacking our constitution to represent their greedy interests”.

He said he stood by his decision to snub the commission and felt that due to their close relationship, Zondo should have recused himself.

“My later refusal to appear before the Zondo commission was not about avoiding having to account for things that happened during my presidency. It was as a result of the clear bias against me by Zondo as he seemed to have departed from being neutral on the matter.

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“Zondo was himself continuously making statements that suggested that he had already concluded that I was guilty of everything that I had been accused of. In that climate, I still believe that I was right to have insisted that my evidence be heard by somebody who was neutral and had not found me guilty in advance.”


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