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Zuma has no right to remain silent at Zondo Inquiry, ConCourt rules

In its ruling earlier on Thursday, the apex court found in favour of the commission and issued an order compelling Jacob Zuma to obey summons and directives of the commission.

FILE: Former President Jacob Zuma in the Pietermaritzburg High Court where he appeared on corruption charges on 15 October 2019. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court said former President Jacob Zuma had no right to remain silent when asked questions at the state capture commission.

In its ruling earlier on Thursday, the apex court found in favour of the commission and issued an order compelling Zuma to obey summons and directives of the commission.

READ MORE: ConCourt orders Zuma to appear at state capture inquiry

The judgment follows months of back-and-forth between the inquiry investigating corruption and fraud in the public service and Zuma who has refused to appear before it.

While the privileges contained in the Commission’s Act, including the right not to incriminate himself, do apply, Zuma cannot resort to silence.

If he invokes the self-incrimination privilege, he will have to explain to the commission how that is the case.

Zuma was summoned to appear before the state capture commission in January and February this year after failing to honour past directives.

Constitutional Court judge Chris Jafta delivered the judgment: “It is ironic that the directives were issued in terms of regulations made by the former president himself under the authority of the Commission’s Act. The commission was established by him in terms of the Constitution.”

The court further described it as unacceptable that Zuma was now the one who was frustrating the commission’s investigation.

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