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Zondo: Zuma will face full might of law for leaving inquiry without permission

For this, Zondo said Zuma will face the might of the law and he will ask the Constitutional Court to compel him to testify.

FILE: Former President Jacob Zuma at the state capture inquiry in Johannesburg on 17 November 2020. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Monday said former President Jacob Zuma was told that the summons against him meant he wasn’t allowed to leave the state capture commission without his permission, but he left anyway.

For this, Zondo said Zuma would face the full might of the law and he would ask the Constitutional Court to compel him to testify.

He said otherwise the former president’s conduct would send the message that the commission can be defied by those who don’t want to testify.

“Mr Zuma could not have been under any confusion about the need to request my permission on Tuesday because on Tuesday, through his council, he requested my permission not to be in attendance on Wednesday.”

Zondo said Zuma knew that he would be defying the commission when he left on Thursday.

“On Thursday, before he left, the head of the commission's legal team had made it clear that as long as the summons stood it was binding and it was not up to him to excuse himself.”

The commission secretary will lay a criminal charge against Zuma and apply for an urgent order from the ConCourt to compel him to give evidence and not leave until Zondo said he could.

“It is therefore quite important for the proper functioning of this commission that Mr Zuma’s conduct be dealt with in a manner in which our law provides that it should be dealt with.”

Zondo said Zuma’s decision to leave the commission without permission in the face of a valid and binding summons was a serious matter and impacted the integrity of the inquiry, the rule of law, and public accountability.

'WE ARE READY FOR ZUMA’S COURT APPEARANCE'

Meanwhile, Zuma’s supporters said they were already mobilising themselves ahead of his appearance in the Pietermaritzburg High Court in two weeks’ time.

Zuma and French arms company Thales face fraud, corruption and racketeering linked to the arms deal.

But he and his supporters claim that the case is an orchestration of his political enemies.

Bishop Sandile Ndlela of the United Methodist Church said they plan to come out in their numbers to support Zuma on 8 December.

“We still support Jacob Zuma and even now there is a rumour saying there is a warrant of arrest because he left the commission without permission, we won’t allow that. There is freedom - if I don’t like what you are doing to me, I’ve got the right to walk out and leave you alone.”

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