Zuma sought to 'exploit' status as ex-president, Zondo commission tells ConCourt

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Former president Jacob Zuma.
Former president Jacob Zuma.
Gallo Images/Sowetan/Thulie Dlamini

The State Capture Inquiry says former president Jacob Zuma has, "... sought to exploit his political status as the former president", by defying a Constitutional Court order that he appear before it – and it is adamant he should be jailed for contempt.

In heads of argument filed at the Constitutional Court this morning, the commission points out that Zuma had not taken the opportunity to assure the country’s highest court that he would appear before the commission and answer non-incriminating questions put to him.

"Mr Zuma has not filed any notice to oppose or answering affidavit in these proceedings. Nor has he stated whether or not he abides (by) the decision of the Court," the inquiry stated.

"Bearing in mind what he has stated publicly about this Court, it would have been expected that he would defend or explain his utterances on oath, before this Court. The legal effect of his failure to file an opposing affidavit, however, is that all the facts alleged by the Commission must be taken to be established."

READ | Adriaan Basson | Jacob Zuma did not only steal our money; he also stole our dreams

The inquiry also argues that Zuma has, in media statements, insulted the Constitutional Court 14 times, the inquiry ten times and the judiciary six times.

In the circumstances, it argues, and given that Zuma had not responded to the contempt case brought against him by the commission, the Constitutional Court should, "... recognise that Mr Zuma’s defiance was an attack on the judicial system as a whole and was, despite Mr Zuma's protestations to the contrary, patently designed to imperil the rule of law".

"Mr Zuma has made it clear that he is determined not to heed this Court’s order. Despite the Secretary indicating in the founding affidavit that the Commission may yet be able to hear the evidence of Mr Zuma, should the Court be inclined to grant a suspension of an order of committal to allow him to do so, Mr Zuma has not come forth to give any undertaking that he would do so. Mr Zuma has remained resolute in his defiance of the Commission and this Court, with the result that no purpose would be served by a suspended sentence."

This is a developing story.

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