Zuma warns of 'judicial dictatorship', claims judges taking power to themselves

He said the Constitutional Court was ignoring his repeated warnings about an alleged plot to destroy him - simply because he was the one raising the alarm.

FILE: Former South African President Jacob Zuma said the core principles of separation of powers between the judiciary, legislature and the executive were being gradually weakened.. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG – Former President Jacob Zuma on Friday said as a person who fought for democracy in South Africa, he was concerned by what he claimed to be a rise of "judicial dictatorship".

In a lengthy eight-page statement, the former statesman said all South Africans should be concerned by what he has dubbed a ‘dangerous situation’ that the country was heading towards.

He said the Constitutional Court was ignoring his repeated warnings about an alleged plot to destroy him - simply because he was the one raising the alarm.

Zuma has attacked the judiciary once again after the state capture commission forged ahead with its application in the apex court to have him jailed for two years for being in contempt.

He has refused to obey the court's order to appear before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and give his side of the state capture story.

Zuma said the core principles of separation of powers between the judiciary, legislature and the executive were being gradually weakened.

The former president is also concerned by how the judiciary is being run, claiming judges were taking extra powers to themselves.

He has accused the Constitutional Court of allowing itself to be abused and not hearing what he's termed "untruthful and selective averments" made against him in the case brought by the state capture inquiry.

Zuma also claims the state capture commission's argument that he should be jailed for contempt of court shows that the inquiry has joined a political campaign to destroy him.

He's failed to produce any evidence to back up these allegations.

The commission wants the apex court to hand him a two-year sentence over his refusal to give his side of the state capture story.

Judgement has been reserved.

However, on Thursday, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola raised concerns about Zuma's attack on the judiciary.

“The Constitution reigns supreme, it is the highest law of the land. So, all of us as citizens of the country are expected to comply with the Constitution. Obviously, it will have more weight if we who are members of the executive or even those that might have – at some stage – led the executive. We have a bigger responsibility.”

READ: ANC setting bad precedent by giving Zuma ‘space’ while he defies law: Analysts

ZUMA'S DEFIANCE OF CONCOURT AMOUNTS TO ASSAULT TO THE RULE OF LAW - NGCUKAITOBI

On Thursday, lawyers argued that Zuma is guilty of contempt and has to serve time behind bars.

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi told the Constitutional Court that every day that Zuma was on the streets, he posed a danger to the Constitutional order.

Ngcukaitobi was representing the state capture commission on Thursday in its application to have Zuma found guilty of contempt of court and to be jailed for two years.

The former president failed to submit affidavits, appear before the commission, and walked out before he was excused last year.

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Zuma was also a no-show after the court issued an order compelling him to appear.

“Because each day that Mr Zuma does not come before the Constitutional Court constitutes an assault to the rule of law," said Advocate Ngcukaitobi.

He said Zuma’s lawyer Eric Mabuza cited irrelevant reasons in his letter defending the former president's failure to appear at the Zondo Commission.

The advocate said Zuma made it clear that his reasons for not appearing were to undermine the whole justice system.

“Trying to get Mr Zuma back to the commission plays into his exploitative attitude that he has adopted – the order should send a clear message to him and anyone who wants to undermine the authority of the court - a custodial sentence is the only appropriate sentence.”

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