The National Association of Democratic Lawyers of SA (Nadel) has been left perplexed by the Jacob Zuma Foundation’s statement that the former president “would rather face jail” than appear before the state capture inquiry.
On Monday, Nadel said the foundation’s statement, released a day after Zuma and his legal team staged a walkout from the inquiry — is “an affront to our constitutional order”.
“The foundation’s assertion that former president Jacob Zuma would rather go to jail than face up to the inquiry is perplexing, bearing in mind the commission was set up by Zuma. When he established it, he was unequivocal in expressing his confidence in all judges in the country.”
It said Zuma’s decision to “excuse himself” from the inquiry, without asking for permission from chairperson deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, despite a valid summons having been issued and without a court order setting aside the summons, threatens the rule of law.
“No-one is above the law, including former presidents. The Zondo Commission is a duly instituted public inquiry, whether one agrees with the terms of reference, the work of the commission or its chairperson, it is still a duly instituted public inquiry.”
It said the inquiry should not be distracted from the important task by transparent attempts to undermine its legitimacy.
“Nadel expresses its confidence in the chair of the commission and has no doubt he is an independent judge who will always abide by the constitution in conducting the investigations and hearings.”
On Friday, the Jacob Zuma Foundation issued the statement supporting Zuma and his legal team’s decision to walk out of the inquiry.
“We commend [former] president Zuma for risking it all in order not to legitimise an irregular process disguised as a legitimate commission. [Former] president Zuma assures us he would rather face jail than allow himself to be bullied by an irregular, manipulated and unlawful process,” the foundation said.
BY Orrin Singh