'Course of action may cause people to die' - SACC worried by Zuma's snub of Zondo commission

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Former president Jacob Zuma at the Zondo Commission.
Former president Jacob Zuma at the Zondo Commission.
Sharon Seretlo, Gallo Images
  • The SACC says that former president Jacob Zuma's refusal to attend the Zondo Commission is of deep concern.
  • The council said it was worried about the aftermath for the law should Zuma defy the highest court in the land.
  • They said the commission was allowing Zuma an opportunity to explain himself.

The SA Council of Churches says it is deeply concerned by former president Jacob Zuma's decision to "turn his back" on the Zondo Commission.

"The South African Council of Churches (SACC) expresses deep concern about the possible implications of the declared decision by former president Jacob Zuma to turn his back on the processes of the Zondo commission," the council's Khuthalani Khumalo said in statement.

"Mr Zuma claims that the law has been applied differently for him in what he refers to as the 'Zuma agenda'. South Africans have heard from witnesses at the Zondo commission, and at the very least, they require a response from Mr Zuma and his lawyers."

The SACC said it was concerned about the consequences for the country should Zuma defy the Constitutional Court ruling and shun the state capture inquiry.

"We still hope Mr Zuma will change his mind, for his sake and our sake, to use the opportunity afforded by the commission to explain himself. Evidence from witnesses will leave a permanent perception of Mr Zuma’s involvement in corrupt activities against the state.

"His declaration of defiance against the commission is disappointing and regrettable for the people of SA. We are deeply concerned about where this might go and the possible dent of our national reconciliation journey, as well as respect for the law," the statement read.

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Khumalo said SA should focus on its economic strife and Covid-19 pandemic, and not "rampant illegality".

"We believe that there are other options that may be open to Mr Zuma, that the SACC would be willing to help explore with him as part of our appeal that, whatever route he takes, must not result in harmful results for South Africa and its millions of ordinary citizens.

"Every effort must be made to prevent a course of action that may cause people to die for the sake of one very important man."

The stand-off between Zuma and the commission reached fever pitch on Friday after Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema and an entourage visited the former president at his Nkandla homestead for a meeting over tea.

Details on issues discussed in the meeting are yet to be made public.

Last week, the Constitutional Court ordered that Zuma appear and answer questions before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

In a statement, the defiant former president said he would no return to the commission and would rather face arrest. He again accused the commission of being biased against him.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule came out in support of Zuma and lambasted critics for calling on the governing party to expel the former president.

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