Zondo commission 'seeking to undermine pending ConCourt judgment' - Zuma lawyer

15 January 2021 - 12:33
By Franny Rabkin
Former president Jacob Zuma.
Image: Veli Nhlapo Former president Jacob Zuma.

By insisting that former president Jacob Zuma had to appear before the State Capture Commission, the commission was seeking to undermine a pending Constitutional Court judgment, said Zuma’s lawyer in a letter on Friday. A letter from Mabuza Attorneys said Zuma would not be appearing before the commission on Monday, despite a summons to do so.

Earlier this week the commission wrote to the former president to say that the summons was binding, notwithstanding that the Constitutional Court was yet to give judgment in the commission’s urgent application to order Zuma to abide by it.

“The commission wishes to make it clear to you that, even if the court has not handed down its judgment by 18 January 2021, you are obliged to comply with the summons and appear before it because the summons remains valid and binding on you,” said the commission’s letter. 

“Any failure on your part, without sufficient cause, to appear before [the commission] on the 18th to 22nd January 2021 will constitute a criminal offence,” said the commission’s secretary Itumeleng Mosala.

But the letter from Mabuza Attorneys said Zuma’s team “respectfully” disagreed with the view of the commission. 

It said Zuma had gone to court to review and set aside commission chairperson Raymond Zondo’s refusal to recuse himself last year. “The review application is yet to be determined by the court. In our respectful view, [former] President Zuma can only be legally obliged to appear after his review application has been determined.”

Also, said the letter, the commission had to wait for the outcome of the Constitutional Court. That application had also asked the court to order that Zuma did not have the right to remain silent during commission proceedings, said the letter. 

“It is therefore obvious that before any suggestion can be made about the appearance of President Zuma, the commission must await the decision of the Constitutional Court which has a bearing on President Zuma’s appearance.”

Mabuza said the commission continued to “display conduct that shows clear bias against President Zuma. In this instance, the commission now seeks to undermine a pending Constitutional Court judgment in pursuance of President Zuma.”