Political war bubbles amid Jacob Zuma arrest
The internal politics that divide the ANC will be tested when the time comes for former president Jacob Zuma to face the music for his outright defiance of the rule of law.
Zondo resolves to charge Jacob Zuma with contempt
On Monday, the former president was scheduled to appear before the commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture but, holding true to his threats, he was a no-show, once again.
Zuma issued a statement, via his lawyers, swearing to never set foot before the inquiry until deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo recuses himself.
The commission, in response, carried out the contents of what would have been Zuma’s first day of questioning. Advocate Paul Pretorius SC went into the many witness statements that implicated the former president as a key figure in underhanded deals that robbed the public purse of billions of rand.
Towards the end of proceedings, Zondo made it clear that the inquiry was left with no other choice but to move forward with the process of instituting criminal charges against the former president.
The only resolve to Zuma’s sheer defiance, Zondo said, was to charge the 78-year-old for being in contempt of court.
“The commission will make an application to the Constitutional Court and seek an order that Mr Zuma is guilty of contempt of court, and if the Constitutional Court reaches that conclusion then it is in its discretion what to do,” Zondo added.
The decision rests with the ConCourt. If it, indeed, finds no basis for Zuma’s contestation, he may either be imprisoned or hit with a hefty fine.
The commission, however, has made it abundantly clear that they will be pushing for the former, not the latter.
Zuma defence forces are ready to defend him at all cost
Meanwhile, outside the Nkandla homestead in rural KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the former president’s gated estate has been bordered by armed MKMVA veterans who have vowed to protect their leader at all cost.
A troop of the ANC’s armed forces was seen camping outside the homestead and according to some who have spoken to the media, they have been there since Sunday evening.
With no clear directive, MKMVA waits with great anticipation for the outcome of the inquiry’s application. Zuma is too. The former president, in a 12-page statement released on Monday evening, doubled-down on his attitude towards the state capture inquiry.
Zuma’s dilemma: ConCourt to rule on contempt – but will he accept it?
He categorically accused ‘some’ judges in the judiciary — Zondo included — of leaving their “constitutional post for political expediency.”
“Now that it seems that my role in the commission has come to an end, I wait to face the sentence to be issued by the Constitutional Court. Accordingly, I stand by my statement of 1 February 2021 and no amount of intimidation or blackmail will change my position as I firmly believe that we should never allow for the establishment of a judiciary in which justice, fairness and due process are discretionary and are exclusively preserved for certain litigants and not others,” he wrote.
The final calling card in this saga will come to a head when the apex court presides over the commission’s application. Should it be determined that Zuma was in contempt of court, it remains to be seen what his retort will be.
Remember, in his own words, Zuma explained that “it is not the authority of the Constitutional Court that I reject, but its abuse by a few judges.”
The ConCourt has not — at the time this article was published — confirmed a date for the hearing.