Jacob Zuma Foundation accuses Raymond Zondo of ‘abusing his power’

Former president Jacob Zuma, who earlier said he did not fear imprisonment. File photo.
Image: SUNDAY TIMES/THULI DLAMINI

The Jacob Zuma Foundation on Monday accused state capture inquiry chairperson  deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo of abusing his position to bend the rules to see the former president jailed.

Zuma has previously said he did not fear imprisonment but the foundation said in a statement on Monday that the commission was determined to find him guilty by “hook or crook”.

This follows Zuma’s defiance of a Constitutional Court ruling compelling him to appear before the commission. Zondo, in response, called on the apex court to impose a two-year jail term on the former president.

Explaining the rationale behind the call, Zondo said this was to send a strong message and ensure that no-one copied Zuma’s antics.

“The commission will make an application to the Constitutional Court and seek an order that Mr Zuma is guilty of contempt of court, and if the Constitutional Court reaches that conclusion then it is in its discretion what to do,” said Zondo.

The foundation lambasted the move, calling it desperate and inconsistent with the commission’s rules.

“This desperation of the deputy chief justice, abusing his position as the second in charge in the Constitutional Court, instructing his subordinates to bend the laws of this country, is unprecedented. He ignores process and jurisdiction as prescribed in law, just to ensure that the Zuma state capture commission of inquiry finds president Zuma guilty by hook or crook to deliver him to some hidden masters.

“The 1947 [Commissions] Act talks about six months’ imprisonment or 55 pounds fine, not the two years’ imprisonment that the honourable judge, who is chairing the commission alone, suggests,” said the foundation.

It compared Zuma’s troubles with those of anti-apartheid struggle icon Robert Sobukwe.

“The master has directed, it is clear the laws are being changed to deal with president Zuma, like how the apartheid government created Sobukwe laws to deal with Sobukwe. Indeed, it sounds like an old apartheid regime in the hands of the black leaders in the democratic South Africa.”

The foundation also slammed the commission for rejecting “reasonable” proposals Zuma had made before his defiance of the apex court’s ruling.

“The Jacob G Zuma Foundation has noted that in paragraph 81 of its affidavit, the commission surreptitiously asks for an order that was openly offered by president Zuma’s legal counsel and rejected by the commission.

“While seeking to appear to maintain its hard unreasonable stance, the commission pretends this is its original remedy, when everybody knows it is an offer they rejected, as they did with all the responsible proposals.

“We find this insincerity disturbing at this level and not befitting a legal process of this magnitude.

“Once again, we remind the commission that it rejected this offer. We hope in its selective presentation of facts to the Constitutional Court, it will be bold enough to admit this fact.”

by Nonkululeko Njilo

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