The African National Congress (ANC) Top Six has maintained that there was no intention by former President Jacob Zuma to undermine the Constitution of the country by not appearing at the State Capture Commission and he is afforded the same rights as any citizen under the Bill of Rights.
The party’s leadership has agreed to afford Zuma time and space to deal with the Constitutional Court and the Commission.
On Monday, Zuma took part in a virtual meeting with the ANC’s top leadership, including President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Briefing the media at Luthuli House in Johannesburg on the outcomes of that virtual meeting, the ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule says, “It was indeed a very good meeting, very constructive, positive, energising and giving hope to both the country and the African National Congress’ leadership and membership,” says Magashule.
Magashule says they discussed with the former President, issues such as the Constitution, the bill of rights, and have all agreed on the importance of the Constitution to the country.
According to Magashule, the former President made an extensive presentation on what prompted his decision to refuse to appear at the Zondo Commission.
“We all agreed that there has not been any intention to undermine the Constitution of South Africa. Comrade told the Top Six that he believes he has been subjected to unfair persecutions and prosecution over two decades and he emphasised that as a law-abiding citizen, he respects the Constitution and that he, too, is entitled to the basic rights as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa under the Bill of Rights,” says Magashule.
Magashule says the ANC leaders agreed “to give him space to continue consulting with his lawyers on these issues, which he has raised. Whether to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, we have left that matter because he will further consult with his lawyers.”
The Secretary General adds that the ANC and Zuma will continue to engage on other issues within the party.
ANC officials have met with former President Jacob Zuma today:
Last year, Zuma lodged an application asking for the recusal of Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo as the chair of the Commission.
Zuma said he believed that there was a level of bias against him and a lack of impartiality. The former President also made it clear that he did not believe the concept of State Capture existed, and that it was a political and not an investigative project.
Zuma’s lawyer’s letter to the Commission stated that Zuma was “of the firm view” that Zondo’s alleged bias against him stemmed from “personal matters and strained relations that the chairperson ought to have disclosed right at the beginning of the inquiry”
Zuma wants Justice Zondo to recuse himself:
EXPLAINER: Zuma vs Zondo:
The Commission took Zuma to court for violating a court order compelling him to testify before it. The application also cited the Police Commissioner Old man Sitole and the Police Minister Bheki Cele as respondents in the case.
The application will be heard by the Constitutional Court on the 25th of this month.
In January, the Constitutional Court has ruled that former President Jacob Zuma must appear before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
The Commission had lodged an urgent application to force Zuma to appear before it and respond to allegations levelled against him by more than 30 witnesses.
The court has also declared that Zuma cannot invoke his right to remain silent as he had initially threatened.
Zuma has been ordered to pay the Commission’s legal costs and those of the two counsels.
In the video below, Justice Christopher Jafta delivers the judgment against Zuma:
In November 2020, Zuma walked out of the Commission without the Chairperson’s permission, after failing in his bid to have Justice Raymond Zondo recusing himself as the Commission’s presiding officer.
Zuma walks out of Inquiry before he could take the witness stand: