JOHANNESBURG: Mr Zuma has again failed to appear at the state capture inquiry, defying a Constitutional Court ruling.
Running away from answering allegations about his involvement at the massive corruption that took place during his presidency, South Africa’s former leader, Mr Jacob Zuma remains defiance.
In a letter sent to the secretary of the commission this morning, Mr Zuma’s lawyers confirmed that the former president, who is now 78, would not attend this week, when he had been due to give evidence.
Several political leaders from different parties including his former ally, the leader of the country’s most radical party, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Mr Julius Malema have visited Mr Zuma the past weeks.
Despite the details of their meeting being sketchy, it is understood that Mr Malema wanted to persuade him to appear before the Commission.
Mr Zuma denies any wrongdoing but has not cooperated with the so-called “state capture” inquiry. He was removed from office by his governing African National Congress (ANC) in February 2018, in a move orchestrated by allies of his successor Mr Cyril Ramaphosa.
In a statement issued by his lawyers, “The summons issued for our client to appear on Feb 15-19 2021 is irregular,” justifying his no-show.
Members of the party’s older generation, Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) and Mr Zuma’s other supporters have gathered outside his Nkandla home.
The group has gathered there to protect Mr Zuma from the imminent arrest.
Mr Zuma walked out of the inquiry in November without permission, citing the unfairness of the outcome of the recusal application he filed against Mr Zondo. Its officials then approached the constitutional court to make him re-appear and testify – his latest defiance comes after the Order was made by the court.
“It’s difficult to understand why he (Mr Zuma) would be scared of taking the witness stand and subjecting himself to questioning like everyone else,” Mr Zondo said on Monday.
A lawyer for the inquiry, Mr Paul Pretorius, said Mr Zuma had been implicated by the evidence of at least 40 witnesses.
“Whether Mr Zuma believes he has been accused of wrongdoing or not … his responses to those allegations are still directly relevant to the work of this commission,” Mr Pretorius said.
Speaking near Mr Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, Mr Edward Zuma, one of his sons, told reporters there had been a longstanding conspiracy against his father and that the inquiry had treated him differently to other witnesses
A sentiment echoed by the MKMVA “the inquiry is targeting (Mr) Zuma and those who want economic liberation for South Africa.”
The group along with the Radical Economic Transformation (RET) forces have been camping outside Nkandla homestead since Sunday evening.
Mr Zondo said he would announce what steps the inquiry would take against Mr Zuma at 2 p.m.