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Zuma releases 'final statement' on Zondo: No amount of intimidation will change my position

Former president Jacob Zuma seated at the witness table at the Zondo Commission. File picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

Former president Jacob Zuma seated at the witness table at the Zondo Commission. File picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Feb 15, 2021


Durban - Former president Jacob Zuma has hit back at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture and justified his decision not to appear before it even after he was instructed by the Constitutional Court to do so.

In a 12-page and 37 point statement issued late on Monday, Zuma started by claiming that he took this extraordinary step not to undermine the Constitution but to vindicate it, in the face of what he viewed as "a few in the judiciary that have long left their constitutional station to join political battles."

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He added that his defiance is a political statement aimed at those who have used the law to unfairly penalise him and persecute his family.

Zuma said Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s conduct on Monday fortifies his belief that he has always sought to prejudice him.

Earlier on Monday after his no-show, Zondo indicated that the Commission would approach the Constitutional Court in a bid to secure Zuma’s imprisonment over his defiance of summonses issued against him.

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.

In what was labelled “Final statement on Constitutional Court decision”, Zuma said: "The Deputy Chief Justice concluded by saying my contempt constitute grounds for him to approach to the Constitutional Court to seek a sentence. Of course he will get it. I am not certain that ordinarily that is how contempt proceedings would commence, but I have accepted that Deputy Chief Justice Zondo and due process and the law are estranged.

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"Now that it seems that my role in the commission has come to an end, I wait to face the sentence to be issued by the Constitutional Court. Accordingly, I stand by my statement of 1 February 2021 and no amount of intimidation or blackmail will change my position as I firmly believe that we should never allow for the establishment of a judiciary in which justice, fairness and due process are discretionary and are exclusively preserved for certain litigants and not others," he alleged.

Further justifying his stance in the statement, Zuma claimed that he was not defying the law but was rebelling against certain judges who are corrupting and abusing the bench for political reasons.

"It is not the authority of the Constitutional Court that I reject, but its abuse by a few judges. It is not our law that I defy, but a few lawless judges who have left their constitutional post for political expediency. I respect the law and have subjected myself even to its abuse for the past 20 years," Zuma said.

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Responding to his critics who have called for the state to cut his presidential pension and other perks like bodyguards, top of the range vehicles and state-paid servants, he said was unmoved.

"Some have argued that if I do not appear before the Zondo Commission I must be jailed or stripped of presidential benefits or pension. Well, for the record, I am the one that suggested that I do not mind defending myself against the sanction that accompanies my principled stance. Secondly, it should naturally please them that, should I fail to defend myself before the relevant contempt forum, I will face jail term.

"The suggestion that I would be enticed with pension and benefits to abandon my principled stance against what I see as bias by a few in the judiciary, can only come from people who believe that money can buy everything."

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Jacob Zuma