Jacob Zuma defies ANC and ConCourt
Johannesburg - Former president Jacob Zuma has defied the ANC’s instruction to all its members to co-operate with the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into allegations of State Capture if summoned to appear before it.
However, Zuma’s latest defiance came after he was ordered by the Constitutional Court to file answering affidavits to the Judicial Commission’s urgent application to force the former president to comply with the summonses served on him to appear before it in January and February.
The Constitutional Court had given Zuma until 3.30pm on Tuesday to file his answering affidavits but he failed to do so.
Instead, Zuma, through his attorney Eric Mabuza, wrote to the acting registrar of the Constituional Court, Dunisani Mathiba, saying he would not participate in the proceedings.
Mabuza wrote: “We are acting on instructions by our client, President JG Zuma, that he will not be participating in these proceedings at all.”
Zuma’s legal papers came less than a week after President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule separately made calls to party members implicated in alleged acts of fraud and corruption to co-operate with the judicial commission.
The ANC leaders also urged its members, especially party leaders, to refrain from attacking the commission and its chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
They made the call after one of the ANC affiliated uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans (MKMVA) threatened violence if Zuma was arrested for allegedly undermining the commission.
Last week, Magashule said: “The NEC recalled the conference support for a Commission on State Capture, and appreciated the work of the Zondo Commission under very difficult circumstances.”
He said Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki were part of the ANC NEC meeting, held from December 6 to 8, which took a decision to respect the work of the Zondo Commission.
He, however, said the NEC did not discuss Zuma’s conduct when he snubbed the commission on November 19m but said the resolutions applied to all its members, including Zuma.
Now, the Constitutional Court application set down for a hearing on December 29 is set to continue without the former president.
Legal expert advocate Paul Hoffman said Zuma’s decision was indicative of his lack of proper administration of justice since he took an oath of office as then president of the country to uphold the rule of law.
Hoffman, however, said that the court would probably rule that it had jurisdiction to hear the application, in the interest of justice.
“The Constitutional Court is likely to grant the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture the relief it is seeking. There will be a collision in January if Mr Zuma fails to appear before the commission,” Hoffman said.
The commission's spokesperson, Mbuyiselo Stemela, did not respond to requests to react to Zuma’s latest response.
The commission, through its secretary, Itumeleng Mosala, had lodged an urgent application in the apex court on December 3, asking it to force Zuma to comply with the summonses served on him. It intends to compel him to respond to 35 witnesses who linked him to state capture while he was president of South Africa.
The application to the apex court came after Zuma and his legal counsel left the commission without obtaining the permission of Zondo on November 19.
Mosala wants the court to force Zuma to give evidence and answer allegations that concern his alleged failure as president and head of the national executive to fulfil his constitutional obligations of the Constitution and oath of office.
“The respondent (Jacob Zuma) is obliged to comply with any summons signed and issued by the secretary of the Commission served on the respondent. The respondent’s conduct in excusing himself and leaving the venue of the Commission hearing on 19 November 2020 without the permission of the Chairperson is unlawful and breaches section 3 (1) of the Commissions Act 8 of 1947,” Mosala said.
The commission also wants Zuma to be ordered to comply with the summons issued by Mosala directing him to appear before the commission on January 18 until 21 and again on February 15 until February 19 .
“It is ordered that, when appearing before the Commission and after he has taken the oath or affirmation, Zuma shall answer any questions put to him by the designated evidence leader and the Chairperson of the Commission, subject to the privilege against self-incrimination, and may not rely on the right to remain silent,” Mosala said.