Zondo: State capture commission to ask for imprisonment of Zuma

A dangerous precedent could be set if Deputy Chief Justice Zondo allowed Jacob Zuma to defy the State Capture Commission summons and the Constitutional Court order.

FILE: Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is seen during a session of the commission of inquiry into state capture in Johannesburg on 16 November 2020. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy Chief Justice and state capture commission chair Raymond Zondo said on Monday the commission would approach the Constitutional Court to find former President Jacob Zuma guilty of contempt of court, and would request a term of imprisonment for him.

Zondo said if he allowed Zuma to defy the commission, summons and the Constitutional Court order for him to appear, he would be setting a dangerous precedent.

Zuma decided not to appear at the commission, saying he was waiting for a High Court application in which he challenged Zondo’s refusal to recuse himself.

READ: Zondo: No reason for Zuma not to appear if recusal review bid not filed yet

Zondo said we should all be subjected to the same rules under the Constitution, and if action was not taken against him, there would be chaos because others may follow his example.

“The commission will approach the Constitutional Court and ask it to impose a term of imprisonment of Mr Zuma if it finds that he is guilty of contempt of court.”

Zuma was meant to appear at the commission on Monday morning, in line with a summons and notice that were issued after he walked out during his previous appearance without being excused last year.

His notice not to appear came after the Constitutional Court ruled that he was compelled to appear, testify and remain at the inquiry until he was excused.

When the former president walked out of the commission last year, he set a series of events in motion.

They include Zondo’s decision to head to the Constitutional Court to compel him to appear on dates determined by the commission as per its summons.

“The commission views Mr Zuma’s conduct in a very serious light, particularly because it’s repeated conducted. The commission has not treated Mr Zuma unfairly at all and has no valid reason not to appear before the commission at all,” Zondo said.

WATCH: Zondo Commission continues without Zuma

But following the ruling, Zuma issued a statement saying that he would not appear as long as Zondo was chairperson.

He also accused the court of being politicised and likened it to the apartheid government.

Zuma said he was prepared to go to jail if he was arrested like he did during apartheid.

Some of his supporters, including the MKMVA, have said that he should not abide by the apex court’s ruling and it has threatened unrest if he was arrested.

Zondo said he would also recall former South African Airways board chair Dudu Myeni to answer all questions where there is no reasonable grounds that she would incriminate herself.

He said the ConCourt had clarified that for a witness to exercise the right to remain silent like Myeni did, they must also say how they would incriminate themselves.

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