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Zuma snubs State Capture Commission again

Former SA president Jacob Zuma

Jan. 16, 2021 3 min read

3 min read

JOHANNESBURG - Former president Jacob Zuma’s attorney, Eric Mabuza has written to inform the State Capture Commission that his client would not be appearing before the commission next week until the Constitutional Court has decided on the matter.

Zuma was scheduled to appear at the commission from January 18 -22. In December, the Zondo Commission took Zuma to the Constitutional Court because he left a hearing when his application to have commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo recuse himself failed. 

Justice Zondo then also instructed the head of his legal team to lay a criminal charge against Zuma for leaving the commission without permission, which is a criminal offence.

Judgment was reserved in the Constitutional Court case.

In his letter, Mabuza told the commission: “We further wish to remind the Commission respectfully that its application to the Constitutional Court did not only deal with the appearance of President Zuma but included amongst others a request for an order that President Zuma should not be allowed to exercise his constitutional right to remain silent.

“It is therefore obvious that before any suggestion can be made about the appearance of President Zuma, the Commission must await the decision of the Constitutional Court which has a bearing on President Zuma’s appearance.”

In a statement issued after his walkout last year, Zuma’s foundation claimed, without evidence, that the former president refused to legitimise a process marred by irregularities and would rather not participate than be bullied.

“Zuma assures us that he would rather face jail than allow himself to be bullied by an irregular, manipulated and unlawful process,” said the Jacob Zuma Foundation.

Last year, when Zuma launched the application for Justice Zondo to recuse himself, he claimed the judge was biased as the two were friends. This application was dismissed by Justice Zondo, who denied both claims. Zuma has taken this matter on review. 

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In a letter addressed to Professor Itumeleng Mosala, the commission’s secretary, Zuma’s attorney said that: “The Commission is aware that (former) President Zuma has instituted an application to review and set aside the refusal by Deputy Chief Justice Zondo to recuse himself from hearing matters concerning him and his family. The review application is yet to be determined by the court. In our respectful view, President Zuma can only be legally obliged to appear after his review application has been determined.”

Zuma’s attorney also accused the commission of bias. “We again place on record what we have previously stated regarding how the Commission continues to display conduct that shows clear bias against President Zuma. In this instance, the Commission now seeks to undermine a pending Constitutional Court judgment in pursuance of President Zuma.”

“Please be reminded that President Zuma enjoys no lesser rights than any other citizen of this country and the Commission has no powers whatsoever to act in a way that undermines President Zuma’s constitutional rights,” reads the letter. DM

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