JOHANNESBURG: Mr Zuma has been given 5 days to present himself to the police station.
The Constitutional Court has on Tuesday found the former president of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma guilty of contempt of court after refusing to appear before the Commission of Inquiry chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Earlier this year, the panel filed a report to the Constitutional Court asking the court to have Mr Zuma jailed for two years for failure to respond in the summons of the commission.
In his reasons for not appearing before the panel, Mr Zuma argued in an application that he feels Mr Zondo was being biased therefore he should recuse himself. The application was turned down by Mr Zondo – who acted as a litigant and arbiter in the matter.
Delivering the historical judgement, acting Chief Justice, Ms Sisi Khampepe ruled in favor of the panel saying Mr Zuma was defiant and the ConCourt felt threatened by Mr Zuma’s refusal to appear before the Commission and also by defying the order of the Constitutional Court.
“There can be no doubt that Mr Zuma is in contempt of court, in blatant violation of the order of the Constitutional Court. Mr Zuma did not attend proceedings as ordered,” she said.
“The Constitutional Court holds that this matter is so evidently extraordinary that a departure from ordinary procedures is warranted and is in the interest of justice.
“Never before has the authority and legitimacy of the Constitutional Court been subjected to the kinds of attacks that Mr Zuma has elected to launch against it and its members. Never before the Judicial process has been so threatened,” Ms Khampepe said in her reading of the judgement.
Mr Zuma has previously said in a statement that he does not fear being arrested.
His party issued a statement on Tuesday saying, “The African National Congress has noted the judgement of the Constitutional Court in the matter of Secretary of the State Capture Commission v Jacob Z Gedleyhlekisa Zuma. The ANC is currently studying the judgement. Without a doubt, this is a difficult period in the movement and we call upon our members to remain calm,” spokesperson Pule Mabe said.
“The meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) scheduled to take place this weekend, will reflect on implications and consequences of the judgement. We further reaffirm our commitment to upholding the rule of law and fulfilling the aspirations of our constitutional democracy,” he added.
Meanwhile, the former City of Johannesburg Mayor and now a leader of the newly formed party, Action South African, Mr Herman Mashaba tweeted after the judgement that “Today’s judgement is a victory for the Rule of Law in South Africa.
“It is clear for all to see that #JacobZuma’s attempts to ignore, undermine and destroy the rule of law will not be tolerated in our democratic society. Nobody is above the law!”.
“We, therefore, call on the NPA to fast-track finalizing prosecution for the over 700 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering still facing Jacob Zuma. It is also hugely unfair for taxpayers to continuously pay Zuma’s presidential privileges and benefits,” he added.
OneSA Movement leader, Mr Mmusi Maimane said in a statement, “today provides an opportunity for parliament to revise the current framework to exclude benefits for any president found guilty of a crime by a court of law.”
Furthermore, the leader of the official opposition party in South Africa, Mr John Steenhuisen said, “Today’s judgment confirms that no one can stand above the law in SA.”
“This is a major day for the DA. For 12 years we have pursued the case against #JacobZuma relentlessly. This is only just the beginning, more ANC cadres belong behind bars,” his party reacted after the judgement.