AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
THE Constitutional Court, South Africa’s highest court, has announced that it is ready to hand down judgement in a matter in which it has been asked to find former President Jacob Zuma guilty of contempt of court.
The court has announced that judgement will be handed down on Tuesday at 10am.
Deputy Judge President of SA, Raymond Zondo, in his capacity as chair of the judicial commission into state capture, has asked the Constitutional Court to find Zuma guilty of contempt and send him to jail.
The commission made the application after Zuma failed to comply with orders from the commission and defied an order of the Constitutional Cour itself.
During a hearing in March to hear arguments for the application, the commission, through its representative, Advocate Themba Ngcukaitobi, catalogued Zuma’s failure to comply with the orders from the commission.
Ngcukaitobi said not only has Zuma failed to comply with the Constitutional Court order but he has also not attended the commission and failed to submit, as required, affidavits to answer to allegations against him. In his failure to comply, he has also adopted a belligerent and defiant tone,” he submitted.
Ngcukaitobi submitted that Deputy Judge President Zondo and the Constitutional Court became targets of Zuma’s “angry, threatening and quite frankly, provocative tirades’ ‘ after they ruled against him in separate matters. Zondo ruled against an application for his recusal and the Constitutional Court ordered Zuma to appear and testify before the Zondo Commission.
He argued that there were strong reasons why Zuma should be imprisoned and not fined. Zuma, Ngcukaitobi submitted, had committed multiple acts of contempt against the commission. He described Zuma’s acts as a cynical manoeuvre to avoid accountability.
In response to a question by Justice Tshiqi, Ngcukaitobi said there was no alternative to the custodial sentence sought by the commission.
He also argued that the court had to take into account a pattern reflected in Zuma’s tactics.
Justice Leana Theron asked Ngcukaitobi whether Zuma was not entitled to criticize the Constitutional Court. In his response, Ngcukaitobi said Zuma was entitled to his freedom of speech but not to launch false and malevolently motivated attacks against the court and members of the judiciary.
“There is no one who is entitled to insult, falsely and untruthfully, the Constitutional Court. Everyone is entitled to say the judgments do not follow the law. But there is no one who is entitled to say that the judges have abandoned their green robes. No one is entitled to say that some judges have received money from Mr Ramaphosa . No one is entitled to say that the Constitutional Court has become a threat to democracy. No one is entitled to say that the judgement of the Constitutional Court mimics the posture that has been adopted by the commission, which is designed to make unfair judgments against Mr Zuma,” Ngcukaitobi said.
Zuma was not represented at the hearing.