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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Zuma’s lawyers mum on why they missed deadline to oppose Zondo’s ConCourt bid

The former president's attorney, Eric Mabuza says he will comment on the matter on Monday.


Former president Jacob Zuma‘s attorney, Eric Mabuza has declined to comment on the former president missing the deadline to notify the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) if he was going to oppose the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture’s attempts to get the court to order that Zuma take the witness stand at the commission.

The commission has filed an urgent application for direct access to the ConCourt, in which it also seeks an order that Zuma must answer to allegations that “concern his alleged failure as president and head of the national executive to fulfil his constitutional obligations”.

Mabuza said he would only comment on Monday.

Meanwhile, legal expert Ulrich Roux said it was important to determine whether Zuma had been given the proper notices, and and all procedures had been followed before deciding on what would happen next.

Roux said he does not know whether Zuma’s attorneys had missed the deadline intentionally or if this had been an error, but the ConCourt would take it into consideration that the former president did not oppose the commission and so could likely grant the latter direct access to have its case heard.

Roux was of the view that the commission would not have much difficulty in arguing that the ConCourt grant it access to, and that the court would most likely rule in the commission’s favour because Zuma’s testimony was crucial to the inquiry, which stems directly from allegations made against the former president.

The inquiry also wants the Constitutional Court to rule that Zuma’s “conduct in excusing himself and leaving the venue of the commission hearing on 19 November 2020, without the permission of the chairperson [Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo] is unlawful” and breached the Commissions Act.

ALSO READ: Penalty or imprisonment: What awaits Zuma for ditching Zondo Commission?

Walked out

Zuma walked out of the inquiry after Zondo refused his application for Zondo’s recusal.

The inquiry views that walk out, which came after evidence leader Paul Pretorius warned Zuma’s legal team that he could only leave the commission with Zondo’s permission, as demonstrating criminal contempt.

The inquiry now wants the Constitutional Court to order Zuma to comply with two separate summons issued on him to appear before Zondo – on 18-22 January and 15-19 February.

They also want Zuma to be ordered to remain in attendance at the inquiry on these days, until he is excused by Zondo.

Lastly, it wants Zuma to be ordered to “comply with any directives” issued against him by Zondo – as well as to provide information formally requested from him in relation to Eskom and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA.

Zuma’s lawyers have not indicated whether they will oppose the inquiry’s Constitutional Court application.

They have also yet to file their promised legal review of Zondo’s refusal to recuse himself.

Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu. Additional reporting, News24Wire

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