Zuma ruling significant for rule of law and independence of judiciary, says Zondo Commission

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The State Capture Commission has welcomed the judgment of the Constitutional Court, which found former President Jacob Zuma guilty of contempt of court.

This relates to the former President’s defiance of the order of the Apex Court that he should comply with summonses issued by the commission and appear before it.

Zuma has been sentenced to 15 months in prison.

The commission says the judgment is of great importance for the rule of law, the principle of equality before the law, the primacy of our Constitution, and the protection of the constitutional democracy.

“The judgment is also significant for the independence of our judiciary. In the Commission’s view the judgment sends a profoundly important message to all in our country that there are serious consequences for anyone who defies summonses and orders of courts and that such conduct will not be tolerated, no matter what the person’s status is in society,” says the commission in a statement.

The Commission’s statement on the matter:

Zuma has been ordered to hand himself over to the police, at either Nkandla Police Station or Johannesburg Central within five days – to begin serving his sentence.

“No person enjoys exclusion or exemption from the sovereignty, from the rules of the republic and Mr. Zuma is no exception. Indeed, it will be against the value of accountability, as those who once held the high office are not bound by the law. The ConCourt holds that it is disturbing that he, who twice swore allegiance to the republic, its laws, and the constitution, has sought to ignore, undermine, and in many ways destroy the rule of law altogether,” said Acting Chief Justice Sisi Khampepe, while handing down the judgment.

Constitutional Law Expert, Advocate Paul Hoffman, says Zuma could forfeit his pension if Parliament institutes proceedings against him following the judgment.

Zuma’s son Edward has said law enforcement agencies will have to kill him before taking his father to jail.

Edward Zuma briefs the media following the court’s decision:

Mixed reactions from political parties 

Earlier the African National Congress (ANC) said it has noted the Constitutional Court’s ruling and will reflect on it during the party’s NEC meeting over the weekend.

The Freedom Front Plus has joined those who have welcomed the decision. Party Leader, Pieter Groenewald, says the sentence is a victory for constitutional democracy in South Africa.

“It gives a strong message that no one is above the law and that people who have to appear before the Zondo Commission must do so. We have to fight corruption in South Africa.  We appeal to him to be on a peaceful way go to the nearest police station, go to jail and do as he said he will do.”