Zondo lauds Zuma judgment as protection of constitutional democracy

The minority judgment of the Constitutional Court said taking former President Jacob Zuma to a court whose judgments can't be appealed and sentencing him to jail without the option to correct his contemptuous act is unconstitutional.

FILE: Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the state capture inquiry. Picture: Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said the Constitutional Court's handling of Former President Jacob Zuma is important for the rule of law, the principle of equality before the law, and the protection of our constitutional democracy.

But his colleagues who were in the minority said the State Capture Commission abused its access to that court.

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Although their views were not carried, the minority justices said Zondo transformed the commission's dispute with Zuma to the Constitutional Court.

The apex court on Tuesday sentenced Zuma to 15 months in jail after finding him guilty of contempt of court over his refusal to participate in the State Capture Inquiry.

The minority judgment of the Constitutional Court said taking Zuma to a court whose judgments couldn't be appealed and sentencing him to jail without the option to correct his contemptuous act was unconstitutional.

“The constitutionally compliant approach would be either to make an order of coercive committal, aimed at inducing Mr Zuma to comply with this court order if the commission's term has not come to an end,” the judgment read.

But the state capture commission said the judgment was significant for the independence of the judiciary, and sent a profoundly important message that there are serious consequences for anyone who defies summonses and orders of courts.

And that such conduct will not be tolerated, no matter what the person's status is in society. The High Court in Pretoria has extended Zondo’s term to the end of September.

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