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Zondo Inquiry is pulling a publicity stunt, says Jacob Zuma’s son Edward

Zuma junior, who is at home in Nkandla with his father, has expressed gratitude to party members and supporters who have gathered outside in defence of the former leader.

FILE: Former President Jacob Zuma addressing his supporters outside the state capture commission on 19 July 2019. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Former President Jacob Zuma's son, Edward, has on Monday described a decision by the state capture commission of inquiry to make public questions it wanted his father to answer as nothing more than a publicity stunt.

Zuma junior, who is at home in Nkandla with his father, has expressed gratitude to party members and supporters who have gathered outside in defence of the former leader.

The former president has made true on his threat to defy a Constitutional Court order to return to the commission, spearheaded by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Zuma said the summons against him were irregular as he was awaiting a court decision to review Zondo's refusal to recuse himself.

Edward said the move by the state capture commission to make public its questions was nothing more than a desperate attempt to pin something on his father.

He said Monday morning's display was an attempt to garner public sympathy: “What they're doing is a mere publicity stunt and they’re seeking sympathy, which they are not going to get.”

It’s understood the ANC's national executive committee has tasked its officials with talking to the former leader.

Zuma junior said while there was no set date for the engagement, Zuma would not refuse to talk to the current ANC leadership.

“The former president is a disciplined member of the African National Congress. Whenever his leadership calls on him, we will submit to them.”

Meanwhile, Zondo said the commission did not rush to issue a summons against the former president.

He said he would apply to the Constitutional Court, which Zuma defied, to find him guilty.

“The commission did not just rush to the Constitutional Court to get an order to compel Mr Zuma to appear, the commission did so when it was clear that he really was not prepared to comply with the summons.”

Zondo said he asked the Constitutional Court to make a ruling on the right to remain silent because it was clear that Zuma wanted to use this to undermine the state capture commission.

He said the commission was taking a hard line on Zuma because it had done everything in its power to get him to cooperate but it was clear he didn't want to.

He said it was a pity that this was done by a former president who twice stood before the nation and took an oath that he would uphold the Constitution.

TARNISHING ZUMA’S REPUTATION

The Gauteng Radical Economic Transformation Group has alleged that the commission has been set up to tarnish the former president’s reputation.

This is even though it was Zuma himself who established the commission during his term as president, following recommendations by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

The group’s provincial secretary Carl Niehaus said the beleaguered former statesman had their full support as he faced his legal battles.

“Without targeting President Zuma, there is no Zondo commission. However, while President Zuma is undeniably the major target, others who have committed themselves to radical economic transformation are being targeted.”

The group has also pledged its allegiance to corruption-accused ANC secretary general Ace Magashule.

AN AFFRONT TO COUNTRY’S LAWS

Former generals and commissars of the ANC’s Umkhonto we Sizwe have described Zuma’s refusal to return to the state capture commission of inquiry as an affront to the country’s laws.

The members of the MK Council, which emerged in the lead up to the ANC’s 2017 conference have also come out asking Zuma to change his mind and “avail” himself to the commission and give his side of the story.

The council said it cannot be that someone who took an oath twice to defend the country’s Constitution is the same person who willingly violates it.

They have described recent developments around him as gravely concerning.

The group said the reasoning Zuma put forward for not returning to the commission does not hold

The MK Council’s acting secretary general Gregory Ntathisi said: “We are law-abiding citizens. We expect those who are leaders and took part in putting our democracy where it is today lead by example and obey the supreme law of the country.”

The MK Council has also lambasted MKMVA president Kebby Mapatshoe who has publicly defended Zuma’s decision.

It said both Zuma and Maphatsoe should have action taken against them by the ANC’s national executive committee.

“And any member of the ANC who can bring the country’s security status into disrepute, must be brought to book.”

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