Johannesburg - Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has indicated that the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture will approach the Constitutional Court in a bid to secure the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma over his defiance of summonses issued against him.
On Monday morning, Zuma once again snubbed the Zondo commission after it called on him to appear before it to answer various questions relating to his alleged involvement in state capture and corruption.
Zuma had told the commission that he would not present himself as he was still pursuing a review application against Justice Zondo’s refusal to recuse himself, as he accuses him to be biased.
Late last month, the Constitutional Court ruled that Zuma had an obligation to appear before Justice Zondo and that his defiant behaviour was a direct breach of the law.
Justice Zondo said the commission took Zuma’s snub seriously, and it could create chaos and lawlessness if it was allowed to continue, adding that the commission would institute contempt of court proceedings and plead for jail time for him.
“The commission will approach the Constitutional Court and ask it to impose a term of imprisonment on Mr Zuma if it finds that he is guilty of contempt of court. It will be up to the court (as to) what it considers appropriate,” he said.
Justice Zondo described Zuma’s continued defiant stance against the commission and the order of the highest court in the land as a pity, as he was a former head of state who had sworn allegiance to the Constitution.
“It would be a pity if anybody did it, but that it was done by a former president of the Republic, someone who twice stood before the nation and took an oath that he would uphold the Constitution of the Republic and protect it, is a great pity,” he said.
He pointed out that the commission had been patient with Zuma, and that it had not rushed to slap him with summonses or seek the intervention of the highest court in the land, but that it was forced to do so when it was clear that he did not want to appear before the commission.
“The commission views Mr Zuma’s conduct in a very serious light, particularly because it is repeated conduct. The commission has not treated Mr Zuma unfairly. He has no valid or sound reason for not appearing before the commission,” Justice Zondo said.
Zuma has previously indicated that he was not scared of being imprisoned over his defiant behaviour, but Justice Zondo indicated that he would be given a full opportunity to oppose the application should he decide to join the proceedings.
Zuma chose not to take part in the commission’s previous Constitutional Court application to compel him to attend the inquiry.