Business Unity South Africa (Busa) has appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa to act decisively by ensuring that the law takes its course following former president Jacob Zuma’s statement on Monday stating that he would defy the Constitutional Court’s (ConCourt’s) ruling that compels him to appear before the State Capture Commission of Inquiry.
“Our constitutional democracy and the rule of law are under severe threat when an ex-president defies the ruling of the highest court in the land,” said Sipho Pityana, the president of Busa.
“We appeal to president Ramaphosa to act decisively by ensuring that the law takes its course. It is incumbent on ex-president Zuma to appear before the Zondo commission, as directed by the Constitutional Court and guided by our globally respected Constitution. The law must be applied to its fullest in the event ex-president Zuma defies the court’s ruling, as his statement suggests.”
In a statement, Zuma said his decision not to cooperate with the commission was due to his belief that the commission’s chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, was conflicted and biased against him, and that he should recuse himself from hearing his testimony.
The former president also said he did not fear being arrested and convicted for defying the apex court.
Pityana said 25 years after leading a process to negotiate South Africa’s globally respected Constitution, Ramaphosa now faced a constitutional and legal crisis over the matter and Zuma’s conduct exacerbated an already difficult investment climate.
“If, as a country, we fail to act against such blatant violation of a decision by the highest court, we send a message that we have neither a political nor economic environment for investment in our country,” Pityana said.
“This is because his immediate predecessor, Jacob Zuma, said after the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of the Zondo commission that Zuma must abide by a summons to appear before the commission: ‘It is clear that the laws of this country are politicised even at the highest court in the land’.”
Pityana said for the last three years, Busa had consistently emphasised the critical imperative to create an environment for much-needed investment and growth in SA.
“Government has yet to make the necessary structural interventions to create such environment. This stance by ex-president Zuma will only serve to exacerbate investor anxieties and worsen the economic conditions for the exasperated population of SA,” he said.
Busa also appealed to the ANC to “act urgently and unequivocally” against Zuma to instill confidence in citizens that the governing party respects the Constitution and insists its members abide by the rulings of the ConCourt.
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