Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: VELI NHLAPO
Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: VELI NHLAPO

The Zondo commission on Tuesday welcomed the Constitutional Court’s decision to sentence former president Jacob Zuma to a 15-month jail term for failing to obey a court order that he respect appearing before the commission. 

“The commission views the judgment as one of great importance for the rule of law, the principle of equality before the law, the primacy of our constitution and the protection of our constitutional democracy,” the commission said in a statement.

Despite various summons issued to him by the commission to answer for the allegations presented by witnesses, Zuma has refused to do so and instead called for the inquiry’s head, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, to be recused. The apex court’s judgment to have Zuma arrested comes five months after the same court ordered him to appear before the commission, which he defied.

The commission said the ruling showed that no-one is above the law. 

'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,” it said.

“The commission will continue with its work in the knowledge that the highest court in the land has made it clear that summonses issued by the commission must be complied with and orders of courts must be obeyed.”

The court ordered Zuma to present himself to law enforcement authorities within five days from Tuesday to begin his jail term.

Failing to do so, police minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner Khehla Sithole will have to make appropriate arrangements for Zuma to be arrested.

maekot@businesslive.co.za

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