READ IN FULL: Jacob Zuma's press address after the ConCourt ruling against him

A majority ruling by the Constitutional Court ruled Jacob Zuma was in contempt of court for not attending the commission.

Former President Jacob Zuma arrives at OR Tambo International Airport on 22 February 2020. Image: Sethembiso Zulu/ EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Former President Jacob Zuma gave a public address live from his Nkandla home on Sunday night on matters pertaining to the Constitutional Court ruling against him.

While the Constitutional Court has clearly stated that Zuma breached a ruling that he must appear and participate at the State Capture Commission, he's told his supporters that he's not aware of any transgressions.

A majority ruling by the Constitutional Court ruled he was in contempt of court for not attending the commission and sentenced him to 15 months behind bars.

Zuma's legal team is expected to argue in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday that his sentence must be stayed pending the outcome of his rescission application.

Earlier in the day, Zuma addressed a number of his supporters outside his house, accusing. Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo of being biased against him.

He also claimed Zondo had abused his powers as a judge and that Zondo was not his first choice to head the State Capture Commission when it was created. Zuma told supporters he wanted Siraj Desai to chair the commission.


Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

May I start by greeting members of the media gathered here, and thank you for ensuring that the people of South Africa, the continent and the world get to hear my posture as regards the Khampepe judgment that sentenced me to jail without trial.

Please allow me to also thank all those people, and peace-loving people indeed, who have shown resolute support, not only for me, but for the rule of law and justice.

I must also hasten to acknowledge and appreciate the Constitutional Court for its recent announcement where it indicated that on 12 July, it will give me audience.

I trust that the peace-loving people of South Africa will support me in a manner that rule of law and the Constitution will reign supreme.

I fully agree with the Constitutional Court in that our democracy was achieved through the sacrifices of men and women who gave up life itself. But they did so so that things like detention without trial should never again see the light of day in South Africa.

The struggle for a free South Africa was a struggle for justice where everyone is treated equally before the law. Constitutional democracy should mean no one, not even judges, are above the law, and that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land where any act or conduct not consistence with the Constitution is null and void.

It is against this background that I applauded the second judgment, which was dispassionately objective, fair and consistent with the provisions of the Constitution, particularly section 12 (1) B, which that prohibits detention without trial.

In the interest of time, please allow me to quickly make a few points.

Firstly, contrary to the mainstream narrative and propaganda against me, I've never refused, not to appear before the State Capture Commission. In fact, the disagreement or discomfort from my side arose when I was in attendence at the state capture commission. It is my honest view that my past relationship with Judge Zondo began to manifest itself in a manner that caused him to treat me unfairly and with bias.

It is in fact incorrect to refer to the State Capture Commission as the Zondo Commission. For an example, if something happened to Judge Zondo, the commission would still continue.

If a member of his family was implicated in state capture allegations, he would necessarily have to recuse himself.
I made a submission to Judge Zondo, pointing out exact details to support my contention that he is not neutral.
He also made his own submission to disprove my contention and subsequently ruled that his own submission is victorious.

This then meant that I was now forced to appear before somebody I have accused of bias and conflict of interest.
As things stand right now, that issue is being adjudicated in a court of law and I'm still awaiting the outcome of that court.

Had Judge Zondo simply recused himself and allowed my submission to be made to somebody neutral, the people of South Africa would have heard my version as regards all the unsubstantiated allegations against me.
All i am asking for is fairness and consistency.

Jacob Zuma is not the first person to have a reason not to appear before this State Capture Commission.
I must not be understood to be condoning any acts or conduct that seek to deliberately frustrate the objectives of the commission.

The only point I seek to make is that is how the State Capture Commission responded to some who defied the calls to appear before the commission.

Some of those individuals include prominent names in the private sector, who were not persecuted with subpoenas.

Even the Constitutional Court was inconsistent in a whole range of instances, including denying direct access to cases involving life and death matters, but granting direct access for squabbles that could have been referred elsewhere.

The fact that i was lambasted with a punitive jail sentence without trial is something that should induce a sense of shock to all those who cherish freedom and the rule of law.

The "rule of law" does not mean dealing harshly with those you may dislike for whatever reason.

Thirdly, I'm very concerned that South Africa is sliding back to apartheid-type rule. I am facing long detention without trial. Elsewhere, the secretary-general of the ANC has a burning order prohibiting him from addressing meetings.

We have a level four lockdown, with all hallmarks of a state of emergency, and the curfews of the 1980s. The only difference is that we only use different levels, like contempt of court instead of detention without trial. But the substance is exactly the same. Being jailed without a trial is no different to the apartheid detention without trial.

Fourthly, I believe in the rule of law. I fought and went to prison and exile so that there must be justice and the rule of law in our country.

No honest person can accuse me of being an enemy of the rule of law.

Consistent with this point, I am seeking peaceful and constitutional methods to deal with this issue by approaching the courts again.

I have been in and out of courts for the past 20 years and readily attending all my court appearances, unless the doctors advised me otherwise.

That is why everyone was shocked when Judge Pillay issued a warrant for my arrest when I was too sick to appear in the court where she was presiding.

The same Judge Pillay was part of the ConCourt panel which ordered my detention without trial. No reasonable person can believe that all members of the majority judgment did their work guided only by the ideals enshrined in our Constitution.

Finally, I'm not scared of going to jail for my beliefs. It will not be for the first time. I will be a prisoner of conscience. I have already spent more than 10 years on Robben Island under very difficult and cruel conditions. Even then, I was a prisoner of my conscience and beliefs.

However, I have a duty, an obligation, to ensure that the dignity and respect for our judiciary is not compromised by sentences that remind our people of apartheid days. Sending anyone to prison without trial is a travesty of our justice, particularly if you cannot even identify the case number of your case.

Even today, I call on all my supporters to use peaceful means to protest against this injustice. I really must be clear: I am not asking for sympathy, but justice.

My age and health condition and any other mitigating circumstances were not considered when the imprisonment was decided. My family and my comrades insist that these injustices need to be exposed.

If it was up to me, I would once again go to jail for my beliefs as early as today whether I come out alive or not. But I have never operated as an individual, and I am therefore, guided by views of my family and comrades.

I wish to thank my legal team for going the extra mile to challenge these many injustices.

Even murderers, serial killers, bank robbers and child molesters are granted their fair opportunity to give mitigation after conviction but before sentencing. In my case, a strange procedure was adopted by asking me for mitigation before I was found guilty of any crime.

It cannot be that there are Zuma laws in South Africa. Only Jacob Zuma is told that normal procedures are not applicable. Only Jacob Zuma is told that appeal processes are too protracted. Only Jacob Zuma is asked to give mitigation before being found guilty. Only Jacob Zuma's name is mentioned that the highest court in the land agrees to be a court of first instance in criminal proceedings.

Sending me to jail during the height of a pandemic at my age is the same as sentencing me to death.
The death sentence was declared unconstitutional in South Africa in 1995. As a result of my sacrificed and those of millions of South Africans.Form

WATCH: Former President Jacob Zuma briefs the media

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