Zondo asks the ConCourt to order Zuma to answer questions at state capture commission

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Former president Jacob Zuma and his lawyer, Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane at the state capture commission.
Former president Jacob Zuma and his lawyer, Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane at the state capture commission.
Sharon Seretlo, Gallo Images
  • Zuma “constitutionally obliged” to account for his alleged failure to uphold his constitutional obligations as President.
  • Zuma must appear before DCJ Raymond Zondo on 18-22 January and 15-19 February and must answer questions “subject to the privilege against self incrimination”.
  • Zuma “may not rely on the right to remain silent”.

Former president Jacob Zuma has been subpoenaed to twice appear before the state capture inquiry in January and February – and the commission's lawyers want the Constitutional Court to order that he is "constitutionally obliged" to show up and "account by giving evidence".

The inquiry this afternoon filed an urgent application for direct access to the country's highest court, 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".

While Zuma's advocate, Muzi Sikhakhane, has previously indicated the former president would exercise his right to remain silent if forced to give evidence before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the inquiry wants the Constitutional Court to order that Zuma "may not rely on the right to remain silent".

READ | Zondo lays criminal charges against Jacob Zuma for absconding the commission

Zuma may ask to exercise the privilege against self-incrimination – but this will be dependent on whether Zondo is satisfied that he has made a case for doing so.

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.

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.

READ | Zondo commission: Zuma concerned about narrative he 'messed up our country'

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.

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