Zondo Commission to recommend that Zuma be imprisoned or fined for contempt of court

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The Zondo Commission will recommend to the Constitutional Court that former President Jacob Zuma be imprisoned for contempt of court for defying an order by the highest court forcing him to appear before the Commission.

The Chairperson of the Commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, says if Zuma is allowed to ignore his summons to appear, there will be lawlessness and chaos in the courts with that being used as a precedent by other witnesses.

The Commission hears evidence related to former President Jacob Zuma:

Zuma failed to appear before the Commission on Monday morning. The former President furnished the Commission with a letter through his lawyers, alerting it that he will not appear this week.

Zondo says Zuma had no valid or sound reason for not appearing. He recommends to the ConCourt that Zuma be imprisoned or fined if convicted of contempt of court.

In a letter, Zuma says a court is yet to determine his application to have the Commission’s chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo recused.

He further says the summons issued for his appearance from February the 15th to the 19th is irregular and not in line with the court’s order earlier this year.

Below is the letter from Jacob Zuma’s lawyers: 

DA describes Zuma’s actions as shocking

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has described the former President’s non-appearance at the Commission as shocking. DA Shadow Minister for Justice and Correctional Services Glynis Breytenbach says Zuma should suffer the consequences of his defiance of the law.

“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.”

Jacob Zuma’s lawyers say he will not appear before the Commission:

CASAC rejects Zuma’s reasons

Meanwhile, the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) has also rejected the basis on which Zuma has chosen not to appear before the Commission.

CASAC’s Executive Secretary Lawson Naidoo says it was not up to Zuma and his lawyers to decide whether the summons was issued unlawfully.

“Despite what was said by Mr Zuma’s lawyers in their letter this morning, it is not up to them to decide whether the summons was lawfully issued or whether it was irregular. That a matter for the courts to determine and if Mr Zuma was being courteous to the Commission, he would have brought an application to set aside the summons because it was irregular. He chose not to do that and wants to decide what is lawful and what is not; that is not his responsibility, that is the responsibility of the courts in this country and we are a country that is premised on the rule of law in terms of our constitution.”

CASAC together with the Helen Suzman Foundation were granted permission to act as friend of the court in the Constitutional matter relating to Zuma’s appearance at the Zondo Commission.

FF+ welcomes Commission’s decision

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenwald has welcomed the commission’s recommendation to the Constitutional Court.

“It was a court order that he appear in front of the Commission and therefore the FF Plus says he should be arrested and a normal citizen would have been arrested so Zuma should be arrested.”