Sending Jacob Zuma to jail was not a wise move – Floyd Shivambu
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Johannesburg - EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu has accused the Constitutional Court of using apartheid tactics to imprison former president Jacob Zuma for 15 months for contempt of court.
Shivambu also criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa for demonstrating poor leadership as parts of KZN and Gauteng continue to experience riots and looting in the wake of the former president's arrest.
“The people of South Africa are correctly concerned about the extraordinary imprisonment of Zuma because imprisonment has historically been used by colonial invaders to punish and intimidate black people.
“When Autshumao, in the 17th century, fought against the Dutch for the return of the livestock they stole, he was imprisoned.
“When Nelson Mandela fought against apartheid, he was jailed.
“When Robert Sobukwe mobilised against the system, he was imprisoned, and a special law was enacted to keep him in prison.
“When Steve Biko challenged the system, he was imprisoned and killed by the regime.
When Solomon Mahlangu confronted the regime, he was imprisoned and executed,” said Shivambu, whose party leader Julius Malema threatened to join in on the riots if Ramaphosa deployed soldiers.
The soldiers were deployed on Monday in Gauteng and KZN to support the SAPS in dealing with the riots and continued looting taking place.
Shivambu said the judgment by the apex court to imprison Zuma was a departure from normal procedure.
“Imprisonment is universally accepted as a mechanism and method of justice, yet, a question remains as to what form of justice is the South African State seeking through its imprisonment of the country’s former president and head of State. How does the imprisonment of Jacob Zuma help South Africa? Is imprisonment a correct mechanism to resolve the otherwise complex political problems?”
Shivambu said South Africa’s refusal to prosecute apartheid criminals and murderers in the early and mid 1990s was premised on the supposition that such will undermine peace which was essential for a transition to happen from apartheid to the current neo-colonial system.
He questioned why these considerations were not made with the former president.
“About perpetrators of apartheid atrocities, former president Thabo Mbeki said if the democratic government would have been asked to arrest FW de Klerk, they would have said no, because he was needed for transition to happen.
“In the same interview, Mbeki fervently argued that justice cannot trump peace when justifying that the intention to jail former president of Sudan should be held in abeyance.”
Shivambu criticised Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo for rejecting Zuma's recusal application at the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of state capture.
“What was irrational was the Deputy Chief Justice’s refusal to recuse himself, thereby inviting Zuma’s outright defiance and disregard of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
“All records point to the fact that former president Zuma committed to appear before the Commission of Inquiry if the person whom he perceived to be biased recuses himself.
“The commission’s prayers to the Constitutional Court that Zuma’s protest should be met with a custodial sentence was therefore not helpful and has caused a scar which will not be able to cure in the foreseeable future,” said Shivambu.
Shivambu says there are several solutions available to the current conundrum, and this includes Zondo recusing himself from presiding over Zuma's appearance at the Commission, should that be a negotiated solution.
“Whilst there are several accusations levelled against him, these are areas which any president can explain effortlessly.
“The accusations by Themba Maseko, the former head of government’s communications and information systems, for instance, that President Zuma called him to meet with the Guptas is easy to clarify because political and government leaders are always approached by business people, and the only logical thing to do when approached is to refer them to government officials, who must, in turn, explain and give guidance on government procurement procedures.”
He questioned some of the witnesses at the commission, including figures that were being bounced around about the cost of state capture.
“We in the EFF fought for the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture because allegations were made by senior government politicians, particularly Pravin Gordhan, that more than R400 billion was lost due to State Capture.
“There have been several witnesses in the commission thus far, and not one has illustrated how the R400 billion was lost or transferred to bank accounts in Dubai. The Commission is not yet concluded. Perhaps one of the witnesses will illustrate how R400 billion was lost.”