ANC to discuss Zuma's defiance of ConCourt order to appear at Zondo commission

01 February 2021 - 18:09
Jacob Zuma is unlikely to have the last laugh as the wheels of justice continue to grind in his ongoing battle to avoid the witness chair at the Zondo commission. File photo.
Jacob Zuma is unlikely to have the last laugh as the wheels of justice continue to grind in his ongoing battle to avoid the witness chair at the Zondo commission. File photo.
Image: REUTERS

The ANC will discuss former president Jacob Zuma’s decision to not co-operate with the state capture commission at its national executive committee (NEC) meeting next week.

Party spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party would comment on Zuma’s decision only after the NEC had discussed the matter.

Zuma on Monday vowed not to co-operate with the state capture commission, despite a ruling last week by the Constitutional Court compelling him to do so. The controversial decision will put Zuma squarely in contempt of, and in defiance of, the highest court in the land.

Mabe said the party had taken a decision not to provide running commentary on the developments at the state capture commission.

“You’d recall that we have always said that we are not going to make running comments unless the ANC has been requested to do so by the commission,” Mabe said. 

“The NEC will have its own meeting next week where this development will be discussed and the ANC will comment only after that meeting.”

In a statement by the Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma Foundation on Monday, the former statesman said he did not fear going to prison should his decision to not co-operate with the commission be considered a violation of the law.

“If this stance is considered to be a violation of their law, then let their law take its course,” Zuma said. “I do not fear being arrested, I do not fear being convicted, nor do I fear being incarcerated.”

Zuma contends that his decision not to co-operate with the commission still rests on his contention that the commission chair, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, is conflicted and biased and should recuse himself.

He maintains his earlier argument that the previous personal relationship with Zondo renders Zondo unfit to hear his evidence and will therefore not appear before him.

“I have never said that I do not want to appear before the commission but have said that I cannot appear before deputy chief justice Zondo because of a well-founded apprehension of bias and a history of personal relations between the deputy chief justice and myself,” Zuma said. 

“I have taken his decision not to recuse himself on review as I believe his presiding over the proceedings does not provide me the certainty of a fair and just hearing.”

The EFF said on Monday that Zuma’s decision was misguided and called on Zuma and his legal counsel to reconsider the “ill-advised decision” that was likely to set a dangerous precedent.

“Mr Jacob Zuma must respond to the many allegations of corruption and wrongdoing levelled against him,” party spokesperson Delisile Ngwenya said. “Our call to [Zuma] to abide by the law also considers that the activities, direction and approach of the [commission] have been less than satisfactory.”

The Constitutional Court last week ruled that Zuma has to not only appear before the inquiry but must answer questions posed to him. It said in its judgment that Zuma does not have the  right to remain silent when he appears.

Zuma said he was detained by the apartheid government during the struggle and served 10 years on Robben Island.

“I had never imagined there would come a time when a democratic government in SA built on constitutional values would behave exactly like the apartheid government in creating legal processes designed to target specific individuals in society.

“Witnessing this carries a much more amplified pain when realising it is a black liberated government behaving in this way against one of their own,” he said.

The inquiry, according to Zuma, is specifically designed to investigate him. He said it should therefore be named the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture against Jacob Zuma - “as it has obviously been established to investigate me specifically”.


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