Zondo: Inquiry didn’t rush to issue summons against defiant Zuma

At a briefing held earlier on Wednesday on the work of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo explained that they did not rush to act against Zuma and were fair in alerting him of the implications of his decisions, including not to challenge the inquiry’s Constitutional Court application.

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 Raymond Zondo has defended the actions taken by the state capture inquiry against former President Jacob Zuma, which will now see him incarcerated for 15 months, saying the commission did not want it to come to this.

At a briefing held earlier on Wednesday on the work of the commission, Zondo explained that they did not rush to act against Zuma and were fair in alerting him of the implications of his decisions, including not to challenge the inquiry’s Constitutional Court application.

The court on Tuesday sentenced Zuma for being in contempt of court after he refused to appear before the state capture inquiry despite several summonses being issued for him to do so.

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On Wednesday Zondo took the media through the meticulous process followed to ensure that they were not rush in their actions against Zuma.

“The commission did not just rush to issue a summons against Zuma, the commission did not just rush to court. The commission did what it had to do when it had become clear that Zuma was not prepared to cooperate with the commission.”

He said those who were of the belief that the former president’s reasons for declining to appear before the commission were valid ought to weigh that against the many opportunities he had to make his case but chose not to.

“Zuma said after he had lodged his review application against the decision of the chairperson of the commission on recusal that he should not have been expected to appear. But the fact of the matter is that Zuma knew because it was said at the hearing on 19 November that the mere fact of filing a review application did not mean he was free not to appear before the commission.”

Zondo said it was made very clear that Zuma needed to return to the state capture commission ahead of a review of a recusal decision.

“He had received papers from the commission, which made it clear that the position of the commission was that the review he submitted was not enough to justify that he should not be compelled to appear.”

Meanwhile, the Correctional Services Department said details of Zuma’s pending imprisonment would only be finalised when he was formally admitted as a prisoner.

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