Zuma says SA is becoming 'constitutional dictatorship' after he loses in court

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Former president Jacob Zuma.
Former president Jacob Zuma.
Thulie Dlamini, Gallo Images/Sowetan
  • On Monday, the Jacob Zuma Foundation released a four-page letter penned by the former president.
  • In the letter, Zuma continued to make accusations against the judiciary, and how he is being tried.
  • Zuma's claims that South Africa is turning into a constitutional dictatorship come after he failed in his bid to have his 15-month sentence for contempt overturned.

After failing in his bid to have his 15-month sentence for contempt overturned last week, former president Jacob Zuma says South Africa is turning from a democracy into a "constitutional dictatorship". 

In a letter released by his foundation on Monday, the former president said he believed that history would vindicate his beliefs. 

Zuma said:

As with many of our leaders during the struggle, I believe that history will vindicate me when I say that South Africa today is in the process of changing from a constitutional democracy to a constitutional dictatorship.

The statement comes after the Constitutional Court dismissed his application to rescind his contempt of court order, describing it as "litigious skulduggery".

The majority judgment findings hinged on the fact that Zuma was never precluded from participating in the contempt proceedings, but rather that he elected to do so. 

READ | Zuma to take ConCourt battle to African Court on Human and Peoples Rights - foundation

His foundation said that he would be taking the matter to the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights.

"Many of our people are blind to this reality at this point because they have been successfully hypnotised by the long-standing anti-Zuma narrative. It is perhaps convenient or even befitting for others that the laws of our country be repeatedly bent and manipulated when dealing with Zuma," the former president said. 

In the four-page letter, Zuma took issue with the way the State Capture Inquiry was established, the Constitutional Court's hearing of the contempt case brought against him, and the findings of the case.

Zuma said that the inquiry was, "... born out of an anomaly", and he had tried to challenge its formation in court.

However, he was the one who appointed the inquiry after losing a court bid. In a statement during his tenure as president he even called for cooperation with the inquiry.

"I would like to emphasise that I have faith in all the judges and their ability to execute their tasks with the requisite levels of fairness, impartiality and independence," he said at the time.  

He went on to question why, then public protector Thuli Madonsela, did not hand over her report into state capture to her predecessor, but rather recommended that a commission be set up and its chair be chosen by the chief justice. 

News24 previously reported that Madonsela explained that the reason for this was to avoid any perception of conflict of interest, as Zuma, his son and his friends, the Gupta family, were all implicated in the alleged wrongdoing that the commission was tasked to investigate. 

While Madonsela's State of Capture report specified that Mogoeng Mogoeng must choose the State Capture Inquiry chair, Zuma was not legally precluded from appointing other judges to serve alongside him or her. He chose not to.

Lastly, in his letter, Zuma once again called into question the impartiality of Zondo and the Constitutional Court justices who found against him.

ALSO READ | Zuma medical parole: Ramaphosa says he had no say in the decision, only found out once it was done

Zuma had questioned Zondo's impartiality on numerous occasions, which Zondo and the inquiry addressed.  

News24 previously reported that despite Zuma making these allegations against Zondo, the Constitutional Court had ironically accused the deputy chief justice of appearing to give Zuma "special treatment" by not subpoenaing him as early as July 2019, and instead waiting until late 2020 to do so.

Zondo also allowed Zuma the opportunity to argue why he should not be subpoenaed - a privilege he did not extend to any other witnesses.

In the letter, Zuma thanked his legal team, and his supporters, but made no mention of the civil unrest in July that followed shortly after his arrest.

"It is important to bear in mind that fighting these cases against me is part of the struggle of bringing justice, dignity and respect for the black African. My life has come full circle in taking me from being a herd boy, worker, trade unionist, a freedom fighter, a volunteer, a revolutionary and a soldier for Umkhonto WeSizwe under the African National Congress," he said 

"I urge all those who support me to remain resolute and steadfast in the belief that this is not the end. I shall fight on. Justice shall prevail. Injustice will be defeated. We will attain true freedom and liberation for the African in the end," he concluded. 

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