Jacob Zuma must testify at State Capture, ConCourt rules
In a momentous judgment handed down by the Constitutional Court, former president Jacob Zuma will have no choice but to return to face questioning from Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’ state capture inquiry.
ConCourt tells Jacob Zuma to return to state capture inquiry
After months of delay and noncompliance from the former president, the ConCourt ruled that it was Zuma’s constitutional obligation to participate in the commission’s probe into possible fraud at the highest level of government.
This ruling was made with a strong criticism on the way in which the commission handled Zuma as a witness.
Unlike other witnesses, the inquiry took its time and made unneccesary delays in compelling Zuma to appear before Zondo.
Alas, the ConCourt ruled that it is in the interest of justice and the public to hear the testimony of the person centrally implicated in state capture.
A summary of Zuma’s last appearance
It’s been 18 months since we last saw Zuma on the inquiry’s hot seat. On 15 July 2019, the former president ruptured SA politics with a spine-chilling opening statement that still reverberates around the halls of the commission.
In one sitting, Zuma had made startling claims about his assassination attempts and a long-drawn-out plot to assassinate his character. Who can forget about the gobsmacking claims he made about former Limpopo premier and struggle veteran Ngoako Ramatlhodi.
As spectacular as the opening statement was, though, it did not satisfy Zondo’s lingering questions about how the Gupta family allegedly seamed itself in the threads of governance, under Zuma’s watchful eye.
Finally, the highest court on the land was Zuma’s final attempt to avert accountability. At last, the commission will have its day with the former president who, over the years, has been coined as the chief architect of state capture.
Questions facing Zuma on his return to state capture inquiry
In his first series of appearances at the commission, Zuma was a difficult witness to question. Most of the time, the inquiry’s legal team would face endless objections from the former president’s hardline defence team led by Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane.
This time around, the president will have no choice but to offer responses to questions about his involvement in:
- The firing of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene;
- Gupta links to the Public Investment Corporation (PIC);
- the fake intelligence report called “Project Spider Web”; and
- the appointment of Des Van Rooyen; among others.
As damning and costly as the judgment was to Zuma — he must fork out the commission’s legal costs — the ConCourt did throw him a rope with the right to not make statements that could incriminate him in state capture allegations.