Zuma can avoid jail time if he agrees to testify now - Zondo

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Former president Jacob Zuma at the Zondo commission of inquiry.
Former president Jacob Zuma at the Zondo commission of inquiry.
Felix Dlangamandla
  • The Zondo Commission has filed papers in the Constitutional Court arguing that former President Zuma should be given a two year jail sentence.
  • Zuma has twice failed to appear before the commission investigating allegations of state capture.
  • The Constitutional Court has also been asked to make a cost order against Zuma.

Former president Jacob Zuma could still avoid jail time for defying the Constitutional Court’s order that he give evidence before the state capture inquiry – if he testifies at the commission.

In an affidavit filed at the country’s highest court this afternoon, inquiry secretary Professor Itumeleng Mosala stated that, although the commission wanted Zuma to be sentenced to two years behind bars for multiple acts of contempt, he also suggested that the court may suspend that sentence, “... on condition that Mr Zuma appears and gives evidence”.

READ | State capture commission wants Zuma jailed for two years for contempt of court

Zuma would also need to submit two affidavits that Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo ordered him to provide to the inquiry in relation to his involvement in the affairs of Eskom and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo

“For such relief to be possible and effective, a special arrangement would need to be made to hear Mr Zuma’s evidence before 31 March 2021,” Mosala said.

READ | Zuma doubles down on decision to snub Zondo commission

Shortly after the Constitutional Court gave its unanimous judgment against him, Zuma publicly stated that he would defy the ruling for him to appear and answer questions about his nine years in office just as he had defied the unjust apartheid government – and insisted he was, “... prepared to go to jail”.

True to his word, Zuma did not obey the inquiry summons issued for him to appear on 15 February.

Mosala argues that the former President’s conduct poses a serious threat to rule of law.

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