In a statement released on Tuesday evening, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo made it clear that he was not going to take the threats of defiance levelled by former president Jacob Zuma laying down.
Zondo lays criminal complaint against Jacob Zuma
On Monday, Zuma sent shockwaves across South Africa’s political arena when he categorically noted in a statement that he had no intentions of complying with the ruling made by the Constitutional Court, last week.
The former president maintained that since its inception, the inquiry has been a long-drawn-out lynching attempt to assassinate his character.
Zuma went as far as stating that if needs be, he would rather be jailed than return to face questioning from a ‘compromised’ judiciary.
In response to this, the commission lambasted the former president for failing to lead by example “in upholding the rule of law and the Constitution.”
“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 constitutional guarantee must be given effect to,” the commission scathingly wrote.
As a fair warning, the commission confirmed that it will proceed with filing a criminal complaint against the former president for his decision to not appear before the inquiry in the week of 18-22 January 2021.
While this is not a formal criminal charge filed by the police, it does hold serious consequences for Zuma if enough facts are presented on his refusal to comply with court orders.
When is the former president scheduled to return to the hot seat?
Of course, things could be swell again if Zuma rescinds his defiance and chooses to appear before the commission in the week of 15 – 19 February 2021.
However, should he hold true to his word, a more aggressive approach could be taken by Zondo.
“Should Mr Zuma carry out his decision not to appear before the commission on 15 February 2021, and, therefore act in breach of the summons and in contempt of the order of the Constitutional Court, the commission will announce that day what further action it will take in regard to such conduct,” the inquiry warned.