Thapelo Lekabe
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
1 Feb 2021
9:28 am

‘I am prepared to go to prison’ – Zuma set to defy ConCourt ruling over Zondo inquiry

Thapelo Lekabe

Bullish former president says he has never refused to appear before the State capture Commission, but says that he cannot appear before Justice Zondo due to a 'well-founded apprehension of bias'.

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Twitter: @HlaleleKelello

President Jacob Zuma has reacted to the Constitutional Court’s (ConCourt’s) ruling last week which compels him to appear before the State Capture Commission of Inquiry and give evidence, saying there is an agenda to have special and different laws that only apply to him.

In a statement issued on Monday, Zuma said he had received an overwhelming number of messages of support from members of the ANC and the public following the ConCourt judgment.

He said the ConCourt had denied him his basic constitutional rights and warned of a “politicised segment of the judiciary”.

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Zuma said the ConCourt ruling “mimics the posture of the commission in that it has now also created a special and different set of circumstances specially designed” to deal with him by suspending his constitutional rights.

He said he doesn’t fear being arrested and being “convicted nor do I fear being incarcerated”.

“With this groundswell of messages, I felt moved to publicly express solidarity with the sentiments and concerns raised with me about a clearly politicised segment of the judiciary that now heralds an imminent constitutional crisis in this country,” Zuma said.

The former president once again complained about unfair treatment from the commission and the former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s decision to refer her investigation into state capture to the commission of inquiry chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Ray Zondo.

Zuma said he had never refused to appear before the commission, but said that he could not appear before Justice Zondo because of “a well-founded apprehension of bias and a history of personal relations” between the chairperson and himself.

The former president said he was puzzled why Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng had “initially informed me that this commission would be chaired by Judge [Siraj] Desai but shortly thereafter changed the decision” and informed him that the commission would be chaired by Zondo instead.

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He said Zondo’s decision to dismiss his application for recusal was again “frugal and expedient with the truth in how he contextualised and defined the nature of the personal relationship” they had.

Zuma said the commission has “followed in the steps of the former public protector in how it has also continued with creating a special and different approach to specifically deal” with him.

“The chairperson of the commission, unprovoked, has called special press conferences to make specific announcements about Zuma. This has never happened for any other witness,” Zuma said.

“Recently the commission ran to the Constitutional Court on an urgent basis to get the court to compel me to attend at the commission and to compel me to give answers at the commission, effectively undermining a litany of my constitutional rights including the right to the presumption of innocence,” he added.

Zuma added that “in the circumstances, I am left with no other alternative but to be defiant against injustice as I did against the apartheid government”.

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