Former President Jacob Zuma at the state capture commission in Johannesburg. Picture: VELI NHLAPO
Former President Jacob Zuma at the state capture commission in Johannesburg. Picture: VELI NHLAPO

The state capture commission says former president Jacob Zuma seems to see himself as being above the law and will take action against him for defying a summons and a court order that he appear before the inquiry.

Commission secretary Itumeleng Mosala said Zuma’s decision to defy an order of the highest court in the country and a summons of the commission was “completely unacceptable” in a constitutional democracy like SA.

“This is particularly so when the person making such a decision is a former president of the country who should be exemplary in upholding the rule of law and the constitution. It is to be noted that, while Mr Zuma refuses to comply with the constitution and to obey the order of the Constitutional Court, on the one hand, he continues to enjoy the benefits that the constitution grants to all former presidents in terms of his pension and other benefits paid for by the taxpayers,” Mosala said.

“It seems that Mr Zuma considers himself to be above the law and the constitution. The commission reiterates that in terms of the constitution everyone is equal before the law.”

This comes after Zuma earlier this week said he would no longer co-operate with the commission, which he established in 2018, even if it meant being jailed, and also accused the Constitutional Court, which ordered that he must comply with summons from the inquiry, of political bias.

Zuma has sought to defy and discredit the commission, where witnesses have placed him, family members and his friends, the Gupta family, to whom he was said to have handed over power to hire ministers, at the centre of huge corruption during his nine-year rule.

Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo issued two summonses in December for Zuma to appear in January and February.

Ahead of his January 18 appearance, his lawyers wrote to Zondo saying their client would not be attending the hearing, this was before the apex court judgment.

Mosala said Zondo has asked him to lay a criminal complaint against Zuma for refusing to appear in January.

This will be the second criminal case lodged against the former president for not appearing before the commission to answer questions about his alleged role in state capture.

The fist case was lodged in November 2020 when Zuma walked out of the commission without permission. 

Zuma could face up to three separate criminal charges if he continues to defy an order and does not attend the commission on February 15.

Mosala said the commission will announce on that further action should Zuma not appear.

In terms of the Commissions Act, Zuma could face up to six months in prison.


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