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Zuma refuses to appear in Constitutional Court

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Former president Jacob Zuma has defied a Constitutional Court order which required him to indicate whether he would defend a case brought against him by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.

Former president Jacob Zuma. File picture: AFP

FORMER president Jacob Zuma has defied a Constitutional Court order which required him to indicate whether he will defend a case brought against him by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.

The commission lodged an urgent application in the apex court on December 3, asking the court to force Zuma to comply with summonses served on him to respond to 35 witnesses who linked him to state capture while he was president of South Africa.

Zuma had until 3.30pm on Monday to file his answering affidavit.

Instead, through his attorney Eric Mabuza, he wrote to Acting Registrar of Constitutional Court Dumisani Mathiba saying he would not participate in the proceedings.

Mabuza wrote: “We are acting on instructions by our client, president JG Zuma that he will not be participating in these proceedings at all.

“The application to the apex court followed after Zuma and his legal counsels left the commission without obtaining the permission of the presiding officer Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on November 19.

“Now, Professsor (Itumeleng) Mosala wants the court to force Zuma to give evidence and answer allegations that concern his alleged failure as president and head of the national executive to fulfil his constitutional obligations of the Constitution and oath of office.

“The respondent (Jacob Zuma) is obliged to comply with any summons signed and issued by the secretary of the commission served on the respondent. The respondent’s conduct in excusing himself and leaving the venue of the commission hearing on 19 November 2020 without the permission of the chairperson is unlawful and breaches section 3 (1) of the Commissions Act 8 of 1947,” Mosala said.

The commission wants Zuma to be ordered to comply with the summons issued by Mosala directing him to appear before the commission on January 18 to 21 and again on February 15 to 19 next year.

“It is ordered that, when appearing before the commission and after he has taken the oath or affirmation, Zuma shall answer any questions put to him by the designated evidence leader and the chairperson of the commission, subject to the privilege against self-incrimination, and may not rely on the right to remain silent,” Mosala said.