Mixed reaction to Zuma’s failure to appear before the Zondo Commission

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Former President Jacob Zuma is potentially facing jail time after he failed to appear before the State Capture Commission on Monday. Zuma’s lawyers confirmed in a letter to the inquiry that the former President would not attend this week.

The Constitutional Court earlier ordered Zuma to appear after he walked out of the Commission in November and did not appear before it last month.

Zondo has announced that the Commission will approach the Constitutional Court to impose a term of imprisonment on Zuma: 

Political parties react

However, it seems that a number of political parties are unsympathetic about Zuma’s fate.

It is a development that Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald has welcomed. “It was a court order that he appears in front of the commission and a normal citizen would have been arrested, so Zuma should be arrested.”

For its part, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has described former President Jacob Zuma’s non-appearance at the Zondo Commission as shocking, saying he must suffer swift consequences.

“His contempt of the court and the Commission cannot be tolerated and those who say they will prevent his arrest are nothing more than overgrown schoolyard bullies. The South African Police and the NPA must act quickly to stop this perception that some people are more equal than others,” says DA Shadow Minister for Justice and Correctional Services, Glynis Breytenbach.

Meanwhile, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has called for Zuma to reconsider his decision not to participate in the State Capture Commission.

IFP Spokesperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, says Zuma is not setting a good example. “As a leader, his actions have the potential to be emulated, it would certainly not serve his legacy for actions that are inconsistent with our constitution and democracy to be those he wants society to emulate.  This is about the country.”

No comment

The EFF has declined to comment on the issue. Its leader, Julius Malema, visited Zuma in Nkandla a fortnight ago. However, the contents of that meeting have yet to be revealed.


Meanwhile, political analyst, Tinyiko Maluleke, believes that the ANC should assist in breaking the stalemate between the State Capture Commission and Zuma. “With this formal legal route closed as it were by the President himself deciding not to appear before the Commission, the only route that is now open is one of moral persuasion and one would perhaps hope that the ANC’s intention to meet with him given that the ANC itself has reaffirmed its support for the Zondo Commission that they will proceed to have a heart to heart with him.”


Ex-combatants of the ANC’s former military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe are camping outside Zuma’s residence in Nkandla.

Members of the MKMVA are saying they are going to be there for the duration of the week and that “they are here to defend and protect the former President from political persecution.”

In other developments, ANC military veterans are divided on the matter. While the MKMVA has vowed to support and defend Zuma, the MK National Council, which claims to represent the majority of military veterans, in a statement has called for Zuma to be disciplined by the ANC NEC for going against a Constitutional Court order.

It also wants MKMVA president Kebby Mapatsoe to be held to account for encouraging Zuma to break the law.

SABC’s Ayanda Mhlongo reports from Nkandla:

‘DCJ a confused person’

Meanwhile, the son of the former President, Edward Zuma says they are disappointed by Zondo’s decision. He says his father still stands by his earlier decision that he will not appear before the Commission until Zondo has recused himself.

“Clearly the DCJ is a confused person. He does not know what decision to take right now. The reason being that he does not take the decision himself as an individual and he does not take it independently. We do not want him to preside over former President Jacob Zuma’s testimony. We do not want him there. We have our reasons and he knows that very well. There’s a truth that DCJ Zondo is not telling the country.”

Zuma’s son Edward says Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is a confused person: 

Gauteng RET

A group calling itself the Gauteng RET President Zuma Support Group says it fully supports former President’s refusal to appear before the Zondo Commission.

Briefing the media on Monday afternoon at the Booysens Hotel and Conference Centre in Johannesburg, the group’s spokesperson and Member of MKMVA Carl Niehaus says they understand Zuma’s sense of being victimised.

“He is indeed duty-bound to resist this insidious undermining of our constitution. We fully support President Zuma for his courage and the highly principled position that he has taken and we stand behind him in the execution of this decision.”

Niehaus also confirmed that the group will support Zuma and ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule during their respective court appearances later this month.

Zuma is expected back in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg next week to face charges of corruption and racketeering related to government’s controversial arms deal in the 1990s while Magashule will appear in the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court on charges related to an asbestos audit project when he was Premier of the Free State.

Associate Law Professor Richard Calland gives analysis in Zuma-Zondo Commission debacle: