SOUTH AFRICA, JOHANNESBURG – Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has requested that the secretary of the state capture inquiry to lay a criminal complaint with the police against former President Jacob Zuma after he left the inquiry without permission last week.
The deputy Chief Justice said that Zuma was guilty of contempt for leaving the state capture commission without his permission.
Zondo read the law that said that any person who failed to appear when summoned to give evidence at a commission shall be guilty of an offence.
He said that all people were equal before the law and it was not up to Zuma to excuse himself.
Zuma walked out after Zondo dismissed the former president’s application for recusal on the grounds that Zuma failed to meet the test for a reasonable apprehension of bias.
“The summons directing Mr Zuma to attend and remain in attendance was at the time of his departure from the commission still valid and binding and had not been set aside. Section 6 sub-section 1 of the Commissions Act, number 8 of 1947, which deals with attendance of a witness who has been summoned is clear. It reads: ‘Any person summoned to attend and give evidence before a commission, who without sufficient cause fails to attend at the time and place specified by the summons or to remain in attendance until he is excused by the chairman of the commission from further attendance, shall be guilty of an offence,'” Zondo explained in a short judgment on Monday.
“The decision by Mr Zuma to leave the commission without obtaining permission and in the face of a valid and binding summons is a serious matter. It impacts on the integrity of the commission, the rule of law and public accountability and in this regard, it is important that we all remember that the matters which this commission is investigating and the matters on which it seeks to question Mr Zuma are matters that happened largely when Mr Zunma was president of the republic and had an obligation to account for what was happening during his presidency.”
The deputy Chief Justice said that Zuma’s conduct should be dealt with so that it did not set a wrong precedent.
He said that he would set new dates and apply to the Constitutional Court to compel Zuma to appear and not leave until he is excused by the chairperson.