The FW de Klerk Foundation has slammed former president Jacob Zuma’s defiance of a Constitutional Court (ConCourt) order for him to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture and give evidence after a litany of testimonies against him from several witness.
In its annual Human Rights Report Card, the last apartheid president‘s foundation said it was imperative that Zuma is dealt with decisively by “the commission, the relevant authorities and the courts”.
“Failure to do so would set a dangerous precedent that would undermine not only the rule of law and President [Cyril] Ramaphosa’s efforts to restore integrity in government, but also the judiciary and its mandate of administering justice,” the foundation said in the report.
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This week, the commission will try to persuade the ConCourt to declare Zuma guilty of contempt and jail him for two years.
The foundation also came out strongly against the 2020 Expropriation Bill is currently before Parliament, saying it poses a serious threat to property rights, “which are a core requirement for all free and prosperous societies”.
“The proposed amendment of the Constitution to make EWC [expropriation without compensation] explicitly possible, and the adoption of the Expropriation Bill, might represent a crucial point in the history of post-1994 South Africa.”
It added that the Bill’s adoption would represent South Africa’s departure from the vision of “a genuine non-racial constitutional democracy, on which our new society was founded”.
Favouritism for John Hlophe?
The foundation has also criticised the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for its handling of complaints and investigations against Western Cape judge president John Hlophe.
Among other complaints, Hlophe was accused in 2008 of using his sway to curry judicial favour for Zuma in 2008.
Last month, the Judicial Conduct Committee censured Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and ordered him to retract and apologise for pro-Israel utterances he made last year.
The foundation said the quick conclusion of the matter against Mogoeng stood in sharp contrast to the way it had handle the issues facing Hlophe.
“In terms of Section 177(3) of the Constitution, the President, may, on the advice of the JSC, suspend a judge who is the subject of a (disciplinary) procedure.
“The question arises in why this measure has not been invoked with regard to Judge Hlope [sic] – in the light of the fact that he has been accused of gross misconduct on numerous occasions – including the complaint against him by all the then justices of the Constitutional Court.
“The question may also be asked why the JSC has claimed that ‘it has no say in the matter‘ and why Hlope [sic] has indeed not been suspended?”
‘Race-based empowerment policy’
On the issues of poverty and inequality, the foundation said South Africa remained one of the world’s most unequal societies, raising concern over government’s “race-based empowerment policy”.
“A concerning development impacting on equality was the South African government’s decision in 2020 to use a race-based empowerment policy to determine whether tourism businesses in South Africa qualify for coronavirus relief funding.
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“This policy effectively barred thousands of white-owned businesses from applying for and obtaining such relief,” the foundation said.
Additional reporting by Bernadette Wicks