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Up to Zondo commission to decide how Zuma should be penalised for defiance – expert

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Anton van Dalsen, a lawyer with the Helen Suzman Foundation, outlines the two options available to the Zondo Commission after Jacob Zuma’s defiance of the Constitutional Court.

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Reuters/Rogan Ward

AS THE debate rages over how the Zondo commission into state capture should penalise former President Jacob Zuma for defying its summons, a legal expert said there were two options.

Anton van Dalsen, a lawyer with the Helen Suzman Foundation in Johannesburg, said the first one would be going back to the Constitutional Court and tell it that Zuma has defied its ruling and ask it to penalise him.

The second option would be the longer route of laying a criminal charge with the SAPS. That would require an investigation which would yield a docket to be taken to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for a decision on whether to prosecute or not.

“I am not sure … I think the best way is to wait for clarity from the Zondo commission. Otherwise it would be speculation,” he said.

Van Dalsen said it was difficult to say which sentence a court could dish out to Zuma as sentences varied all the time.

While the Zondo commission has these two options, on Monday the chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, said he would ask the Constitutional Court to jail Zuma.

“The commission has noted that in this situation it may institute what is called contempt of court proceedings. The commission will do so. The commission will approach the Constitutional Court and ask it to impose a term of imprisonment on Mr Zuma if it finds that he is guilty of contempt of court. It will be up to the court what it considers appropriate,” he said on Monday after Zuma refused to avail himself.

Meanwhile, as the tussle between Zuma and the commission divides the ruling party, and as MK vets guard Nkandla in anticipation of his arrest, former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede has added her voice.

Late on Monday, she took to Facebook to voice her support for Zuma. Using a Martin Luther King quote, Gumede wished Zuma strength.

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” Martin Luther King Jnr #QinaNxamalala (be strong Zuma),” she wrote.

The Facebook message was accompanied by a picture of a group of ANC members hoisting a banner with a photo of Zuma sitting alongside an ANC flag.

Political Bureau