State capture inquiry to lay criminal complaint against Zuma

Former President Jacob Zuma. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has requested the secretary of the state capture inquiry to lay a criminal complaint against former President Jacob Zuma for leaving the inquiry without permission last week.

Zuma and his legal team “excused” themselves from the inquiry after his bid for Zondo, who is the inquiry’s chairperson, to recuse himself failed.

Summons ‘still binding’

At the start of proceedings on Monday, Zondo reiterated that the summons against Zuma to testify between 16 and 20 November, 2020 was still binding after the recusal bid failed.

Zuma’s departure from the inquiry without permission therefore constituted an offence and is a “serious matter,” he added.

Zondo said, “It impacts on the integrity of the commission, the rule of law and public accountability … [which are] values that are fundamental to our constitutional order. Our constitution promises all of us that we are all equal before the law.

“Given the seriousness of Mr Zuma’s conduct, the impact it may have on the work of the commission and the need to ensure that we give effect to the constitutional provision that everyone is equal before the law, I have decided to request the secretary of the commission to lay a criminal complaint with the South African Police [Service] against Mr Zuma so that the police can investigate his conduct.”

New summons

Zondo also asked the inquiry’s secretary to avail the relevant information to SAPS and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

He added, “I am going to determine other dates when Mr Zuma is going to appear before the commission. The secretary will issue a summons to be served on Mr Zuma to appear before the commission during those dates.

“The secretary will make an application to the Constitutional Court on an urgent basis for the Court to issue an order that will compel Mr Zuma to appear before the commission in accordance with the summons that will be issued.”

The inquiry will also ask the Constitutional Court to compel Zuma to comply with Zondo’s directives to furnish the inquiry with certain affidavits.

Before leaving the inquiry last week, Zuma’s lawyer Muzi Sikhakhane said the former President will file a complaint against Zondo at the Judicial Service Commission for being “a judge in disputes that involve yourself.”

Zuma will also file a court application to review Zondo’s dismissal of the recusal bid, Sikhakhane added.

On Friday, the Jacob Zuma Foundation said Zuma had “assured” it that he would rather “face jail than be bullied” by the inquiry.

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