Meeting between Zuma and Fees Must Fall activist Bonginkosi Khanyile postponed
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Durban – The much-anticipated meeting between former president Jacob Zuma and Fees Must Fall activist Bonginkosi Khanyile has been postponed indefinitely.
Zuma was expected to meet with Khanyile in uMlazi where he is under house arrest after he was convicted in August 2018 for public violence. This was during the fees protests of 2015 and 2016.
The meeting came on the back of Zuma’s defiance of the Constitutional Court order that he must appear before the Zondo commission and answer all questions posed to him.
Philani Nduli, the co-ordinator of the meeting between the two, said the postponement was due to unforeseen circumstances and a new date would be communicated.
Asked why Zuma wanted to meet Khanyile, Nduli said both public figures hailed from Nkandla and their families had been having behind-closed-door meetings. He said Zuma wanted to check on Khanyile’s well-being while he is under house arrest.
“Zuma knows that Khanyile has a strong stance in his support against the injustices meted out on him by the country’s courts,” Nduli said.
Meanwhile, the Zondo commission has slammed Zuma for his decision to defy the court order that he must appear. The commission said on Tuesday that it was unacceptable for a former head of state to defy court orders and to inflict harm on the Constitution.
“The commission is concerned that Mr Zuma’s decision to defy the order of the Constitutional Court and the summons of the commission displays 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, that relate to his terms of office as president of the country which have been led in the commission over the past three years,” it said.
The commission added that in response to Zuma’s decision to refuse to appear as summoned from January 18 and 22 this year. It would lay criminal charges against him. Should he carry out his threat to defy the next summons billed for February 15 to 19 this year, it would decide what it would do.
“Should Mr Zuma carry out his decision not to appear before the commission on February 15 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,” it said.
Glynnis Breytenbach, the DA spokesperson on justice and correctional services, said urgent steps needed to be taken by law enforcement agencies to ensure that Zuma was compelled to testify during his scheduled appearance. If he was allowed to continue this contemptuous behaviour, it would entrench a perception that he was above the law.
“The South African Police Service in particular needs to be prepared to arrest Zuma should he fail to show up. If he carries through with his planned defiance, Zuma must be arrested and face the full consequences of his appalling behaviour, just like any other citizen would have to do,” she said.