News | South Africa | State Capture
Ex-president Jacob Zuma responded to Monday’s proceedings at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture,
claiming his refusal to abide by an order handed down by the highest court in the land and testify, is in protest of “the abuse of law and judicial office”.
But in his rant – accusing chair Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo of having a “political agenda” – Zuma managed to get pretty much everything wrong.
So The Citizen stepped in to set the record straight.
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He claimed, for example, the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) order “effectively stripped me of my constitutional right as a citizen”.
The court did order him to “obey all summonses and directives lawfully issued” by the commission.
But at no stage has Zuma – or anyone else – enjoyed any rights to the contrary.
The Commissions Act, under which the commission was established, makes it an offence not to comply with a summons.
The court also declared that Zuma did not have a right to remain silent in proceedings before the commission.
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But, again, he never did and nor did anyone else.
The constitution does provide for the right to silence, but this forms part of the right to a fair trial and is reserved for “arrested, detained and accused persons”.
And this is not a trial, nor is Zuma in the criminal dock.
He claimed in any case he never said he planned on defying the subpoena or exercising any right to remain silent.
“Those who know the truth will know that when my legal team made this reference, it was in the context of an example and suggestion of how a more responsible way forward could be found,” Zuma said.
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And he was adamant “the submission by the commission that a threat was made that I would defy or refuse to answer is a blatant falsehood fabricated on behalf of the commission and entertained by the judges of the Constitutional Court”.
Wrong again, though. If anything, as the ConCourt found, the commission has, up until this point, treated Zuma with “a measure of deference”.
Mr Zuma is welcome to specify which laws were specifically aimed at him and submit them to The Citizen.
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