Zuma faces new criminal charges


THE judicial commission into state capture is going toe-to-toe with former president Jacob Zuma, who has declared that he will defy the summons as well as a ruling by the Constitutional Court to appear and testify.

The commission, chaired by Deputy President Raymond Zondo, announced yesterday that it will lay criminal charges against Zuma, who on Monday declared that he does not fear being arrested.

Zuma made it clear, in a lengthy statement, that he would defy the order by the Constitutional Court, the highest court in South Africa, which ruled that he must appear, as summoned, from February 15-19.

In a statement, Professor Itumeleng Mosala, the secretary to the Commission, said it was clear that Zuma considered himself to be above the law. 

Mosala said: “The Constitution expressly provides that an order or decision issued by a Court binds all persons to whom it applies. Therefore, Mr Zuma is, in terms of the Constitution, expressly bound by the order of the Constitutional Court. Mr Zuma’s decision that he will defy the order of the country’s highest court and the summons of the Commission is completely unacceptable in a constitutional democracy such as ours. This is particularly so when the person making such a decision is a former President of the country who should be exemplary in upholding the rule of law and the Constitution. 

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“It is to be noted that, while Mr Zuma refuses to comply with the Constitution and to obey the order of the Constitutional Court on the one hand, he continues to enjoy the benefits that the Constitution grants to all former Presidents in terms of his pension and other benefits paid for by the taxpayers. It seems that Mr Zuma considers himself to be above the law and the Constitution. The Commission reiterates that in terms of the Constitution everyone is equal before the law. This constitutional guarantee must be given effect to.”

Mosala said the Commission was concerned that Zuma’s decision to defy the order of the 

Constitutional Court and the summons of the Commission displayed a complete disregard for the rights and interests that South Africans have in obtaining comprehensive responses from him to a lot of evidence regarding state capture, corruption and fraud that concern him and others connected with him.

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“With regard to Mr. Zuma’s decision not to appear before the Commission during the week of the 18th to the 22nd of January 2021 as he had been required to do in terms of one of the Commission’s summonses served on him, the Chairperson has asked the Secretary of the Commission to lay a criminal complaint against Mr. Zuma. In this regard the Commission’s Legal Team will assist the Secretary. 

“In terms of one of the summonses issued by the Commission Mr. Zuma is required to appear before the Commission from the 15th to the 19th February 2021. As already indicated the order of the Constitutional Court compels Mr. Zuma to comply with that summons by appearing before the Commission and answering questions that may be put to him. Should Mr. Zuma carry out his decision not to appear before the Commission on 15 February 2021 and, therefore, act in breach of the summons and in contempt of the order of the Constitutional Court, the Commission will announce on that day what further action it will take in regard to such conduct,” Mosala said.

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He added the commission noted that Zuma has continued with attacks on the person and integrity of Zondo, who he said would deal with those attacks in a separate statement.

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