The ANC has confirmed that its top 6 officials met former President Jacob Zuma on Monday (8 March), but did not reveal the outcome of that meeting.
“The National Officials had very positive and constructive discussions with former President Jacob Zuma,” ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said in a terse statement issued on Monday evening.
The national officials include President Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President David Mabuza, National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe, Secretary-General Ace Magashule, Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte and Treasurer Paul Mashatile.
The much-anticipated meeting was held to discuss Zuma’s defiance of a Constitutional Court order to appear and testify before the state capture commission of inquiry chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
The ex-President maintains that Zondo is “biased” against him and has sought his recusal as chairperson. He also claims the Constitutional Court ruling denied him his constitutional rights, including “the right to remain silent.” This, he claims, is part of a wider scheme to treat him “differently.”
During an engagement with the SA National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) in late February, Ramaphosa said he would insist on compliance with the rule of law during the top 6 officials’ meeting with Zuma.
“The important thing for me as president of the republic is to insist that all of us must abide by the rule of law and the Constitution of the republic. That is the sum total of what I stand for as the President of the republic. There is no backing down in as far as that is concerned,” he emphasised.
The state capture inquiry has since approached the Constitutional Court to seek a two-year prison sentence against Zuma for contempt of court after he failed to appear before it.
According to the inquiry, Zuma’s conduct is “calculated to undermine the integrity of this court and the judiciary in general” and is therefore “no ordinary case of contempt.”
The sentence imposed by the court should therefore reflect the public’s expectation that someone with Zuma’s stature “should comply with the law rather than displaying contempt of the law,” the inquiry said in its application.
On Monday, News24 reported that Zuma had missed his deadline to file an answering affidavit to the inquiry’s application. Both the Constitutional Court and State Attorney’s office reportedly confirmed that the ex-President had not filed the affidavit.
He had similarly not filed any formal notice indicating whether or not he would abide by the court’s decision. He had also reportedly not communicated his stance on the case at all.