Home South African Civic groups pile pressure on Zuma to appear before Zondo commission

Civic groups pile pressure on Zuma to appear before Zondo commission


In a joint statement, 26 civic organisations said former president Jacob Zuma should not be scared of the Zondo commission if he has not done anything wrong.

Former president Jacob Zuma’. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla

A FEW hours before former president Jacob Zuma unleashes his high-powered legal team on state capture commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, whom he wants to recuse himself, the ex-president has been asked to comply with the summons and appear before the commission on Monday.

In a joint statement issued on Sunday, 26 civic organisations said that Zuma should not be scared of the commission if he has not done anything wrong. The 26 civic organisations include Corruption Watch, Right2Know, Equal Education and Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), among others.

“Today, we call on Zuma to present himself before this very commission, and to respect its mandate and integrity. We are perturbed by the evasive attitude in recent weeks of selected witnesses appearing before Judge Raymond Zondo. We urge the former president not to employ a similar strategy, nor delaying tactics.

“We believe that an innocent person will have no qualms about being frank, transparent and accountable to the public through the commission. It is shocking that some tend to think that Judge Zondo has an ‘obsession’ with Zuma when in fact, a substantial amount of information that has emerged from witness testimony thus far implicates the former president and his associates,” they said.

Further, they said Zuma must avail himself and tell the public what he knows about the subject.

“Zuma must respond transparently to the litany of allegations that have been levelled against him by various witnesses. The public want(s) to know the role that the president may or may not have played in assisting the Gupta family’s business interests. We want to know if the Gupta brothers had any role to play in the appointment and dismissal of Cabinet ministers during his tenure as president. We want to know the details behind the Russian nuclear deal and the role Zuma may have played in the appointment and removal of senior managers in government departments or SOEs (state-owned enterprises).”

The organisations further said they support the work of the commission and condemn all attempts aimed at frustrating and delegitimising its work.

“Given the national importance of the work of the Zondo commission in probing state capture, we believe that its findings and recommendations will be critical in dismantling corrupt networks that over the past decade have eroded our democracy,” the organisations jointly said.

Zuma and his lawyers are yet to respond to the civic organisations’ statement.