Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg - Former president Jacob Zuma should not be worried about appearing before the state capture commission if he is prepared to tell the truth.

This is the view of political analysts Ralph Mathekga and Thabani Khumalo.

This week, Business Day reported that in their appeal papers over the ruling handed down last week Friday, Zuma’s legal team said the ruling amounted to curtailing Zuma’s right to free speech.

The high court in Durban ruled that Zuma had to apologise to former minister Derek Hanekom and remove his defamatory tweet posted in July.

According to the paper, the former president’s legal representatives also maintained that the instruction by the court would affect Zuma’s obligation to testify before the Zondo Commission, and that he may consider not appearing because of the consequences he might face over the revelations he makes there.

Mathekga said: “It’s a very strange defence; one presumes that the truth is the truth, no matter where you say it.

“Zuma is saying he is entitled to make statements he cannot substantiate, and when the court says no you cannot do that, Zuma says he is worried about testifying at the commission. If he is saying things he can substantiate, why that should be a problem?”

Khumalo echoed Mathekga’s sentiments and said by this argument, Zuma could be up to his “old tricks” of trying to avoid answering questions from the commission.

He emphasised that if Zuma was going to tell the commission the truth, there was no need for him to be worried at all, adding that the commission would not be adversely affected by his non-appearance as he was “economical with the truth”.

When asked whether Zuma had been summoned to appear before the commission again, Zondo Commission spokesperson Reverend Mbuyiselo Stemela declined to comment, saying he was not given sufficient time to respond.

Political Bureau