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LIVE FEED: ConCourt hands down judgment in Zuma contempt of court case

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jun 29, 2021

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Durban - While the family of former president Jacob Zuma were on Monday mum ahead of the judgment that will be handed down by the Constitutional Court Tuesday, his few remaining supporters have vowed to stand by him all the way.

Although calculating in their brief comment about the matter on Monday, the leader of Radical Economic Transformation Forces, Nkosentsha Shezi, said they would divulge their counter plan on Tuesday.

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Shezi said when the time was right, the world would know how they will handle the sensitive matter which is feared could plunge the country into a political crisis.

"What I can say for now is that Zuma will never walk alone, take note of that. That is what we can say for now" Shezi told Independent Media on Monday.

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At Zuma’s Nkandla's home on Monday the mood was quiet.

The Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association battalion which has been stationed outside the rural home since late March were in high spirits. They were heard singing struggle songs from the tent they use as their base. Some were seen outside parading as if preparing for war.

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Zuma’s most vocal son, Edward Zuma, did not say anything about the pending sentencing.

Zuma’s run-in with the court started in December last year when the Zondo Commission, which is probing allegations of state capture during his nine years as president, dashed to court to ask it to compel him to come before it and answer all questions posed to him.

The order was granted, but Zuma decided to defy the court, alleging that the commission and the court were “victimising” him through exceptional and harsh treatment, and that both institutions were politicising the law to his detriment.

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The secretary of the commission, Professor Itumeleng Mosala then asked the court to penalise Zuma with contempt of court findings. On the same day, Zuma issued another long statement and said the judiciary was engaged in political battles against him.

“It is no longer my attendance that they seek, but they have joined the political campaign to destroy me. It also reveals that this was always the commission’s mandate,” Zuma said at the time.

He said Justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the commission, was “exploiting his proximity to the Constitutional Court to protect and advance his own interests as chairperson of the commission”.

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When the matter was heard on March 25 this year, advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, acting on behalf of the commission, asked the court to hand down a two-year sentence, arguing that Zuma has made serious allegations against the judiciary without any evidence to back up his claims.

"Basically he’s using the language of daring the court, 'I'm not afraid to go to prison'. Even prior to coming to the court in December 2020, the commission had tried to use its coercive powers. I know that there is criticism in the judgment, but he was given leeway that would not ordinarily be given to ordinary witnesses. But the fact is the coercive powers were tried, they didn’t work…

“There is no scope for coercive powers, the only scope that remains now is imprisonment. Utterances that Mr Zuma has made are malicious utterances. He is also acting without any facts; Mr Zuma completely disregards the evidence,” Ngcukaitobi told the court in March, arguing why Zuma should be jailed.

While awaiting the court’s ruling, Zuma’s son Edward said it would be bizarre if the Constitutional Court handed down a custodial sentence, as it did not deal with criminal matters. He said the family would deal with the matter when the sentence was handed down.

Efforts to get a comment from Mzwanele Manyi, Zuma’s new spokesperson, failed as his cellphone was off for the better part of yesterday.

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