Zondo: If action not taken against Zuma, others could ignore court orders too

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said the court should find him guilty of contempt for defying its order – and the State Capture Commission summons to testify.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court is now faced with a Jacob Zuma dilemma – to jail or not to jail the former president.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said that the court should find him guilty of contempt for defying its order and the state capture commission summons to testify.

READ: Zondo: State capture commission to ask for imprisonment of Zuma

He said that if action was not taken against Zuma, there would be chaos in the courts and other people would believe that they too could ignore a summons and court orders.

“Mr Zuma had a full opportunity to put before the Constitutional Court whatever reasons he believed justified him in not complying with the summons or not appearing before the commission and allow Constitutional Court to decide whether those reasons were sound or not.”

Zondo said the former president decided to snub the court by not appearing so he can’t now object to the court finding against him.

“He was free to say to the ConCourt you can’t compel me to appear before this chairperson of this commission for these following reasons if he believed they were sound and would be considered by the ConCourt.”

Zondo said that Zuma must be subjected to the same rules as everyone under the Constitution, especially because as a former president, he stood before the nation twice and swore to uphold that very Constitution.


The deputy chief justice said that Zuma’s claim that he was waiting for a High Court ruling on his review application was not genuine and he wanted the Constitutional Court to find him in contempt and lock him up.

Hours before he was expected to testify, Zuma’s lawyers told Zondo in a letter that his summons was irregular because he knew that there is a pending review application.

But Zondo decided to look at a statement that the former president released where he said he would never appear before him.

“If this stance is considered to be their law then let their law take its course. I do not fear being arrested, I do not fear being convicted, nor do I fear being incarcerated.”

That’s Advocate Paul Pretorious reading an excerpt from Zuma’s statement.

READ MORE: Zuma: I have no objection to the law, but I object to Zondo Inquiry

In it, he said that he planned to defy the Constitutional Court because it was politicised and that he would not testify at the commission as long as it was chaired by Zondo.

The deputy chief justice said that statement made it clear that Zuma already decided to ignore his summons.

“The commission will make an application to the Constitutional Court which is the court that made the order that Mr Zuma has defied and seek an order that Mr Zuma is guilty of contempt of court, and ask it to impose a term of imprisonment on Mr Zuma if it finds that he is guilty.”

It’s now up to the court to decide if the former president is guilty and if he should pay a fine or go to jail.

WATCH: Zondo: We will ask for imprisonment of Zuma if found guilty of contempt of court

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.