The standoff between former president Jacob Zuma and the Zondo Commission continues to dominate the news.File picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)
The standoff between former president Jacob Zuma and the Zondo Commission continues to dominate the news.File picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)

’Rule of law must be applied to Zuma just like any other citizen’

By Sihle Mavuso Time of article published Feb 19, 2021

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Durban - The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation says former president Jacob Zuma’s defiance of the Zondo commission and Constitutional Court should not go unchallenged.

The foundation’s executive director, Neeshan Balton, said Zuma’s failure to appear before the commission on Monday, despite a Constitutional Court ruling compelling him to do so, cements their view that the former head of state is simply not interested in the rule of law, public accountability and justice.

“The contempt of court application should be dealt with fairly and objectively, without any preferential treatment being bestowed on the former head of state. The rule of law must be applied to Zuma as it would to any other citizen of this country. Failure to do so will set a dangerous precedent and undermine our constitutional democracy,” Balton said.

After a three-hour meeting with Zuma at Nkandla on Thursday, Police Minister Bheki Cele will first brief the ruling ANC and then discuss the matter with the media and the public.

The meeting came amid an escalating stand-off between Zuma and the Zondo commission which is probing allegations of state capture between 2009 and 2018.

While there is no official statement regarding what was discussed, Independent Media learnt from those close to both Zuma and Cele that the talks centred around the rule of law. Cele as the head of the South African Police Service (SAPS), the law enforcement unit will have to be the one to carry out the arrest of Zuma once an order has been issued by the Constitutional Court which Zuma stands accused of defying. He also allegedly warned Zuma about a possible skirmish when the SAPS carries out its duties.

“The discussions were around the rule of law and what will happen when the SAPS has been instructed to arrest Zuma. Cele warned Zuma that while he is a senior ANC member, the police would arrest him when instructed by courts,” said a senior KZN member close to Cele.

An almost similar version was given by a source close to the Zuma family and the JG Zuma Foundation.

Over the weekend, the ANC NEC resolved that the ANC must send a delegation to meet with Zuma and talk to him about his defiance of the commission. Since it was confusing whether Cele was assigned by the ANC or not, Independent Media asked ANC national spokesperson, Pule Mabe when would the meeting take place. He refused to give out information but said the public would be kept in the loop regarding the high stakes meeting which comes as Zuma on Monday said he was not going to change his mind.

“We will accordingly update the media and members of the public once the outcomes of the meeting have been established and accordingly conveyed to us,” Mabe said when asked by Independent Media about the meeting.

Before being granted access, Cele was blocked by an army regalia wearing battalion of MK (Umkhonto weSizwe) guarding Zuma’s Nkandla home since Sunday. The veterans were deployed in anticipation that Zuma would be arrested for defying a summons to appear before the commission.

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Political Bureau

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