Nearly a month after hearing legal arguments in the State Capture Commission’s bid to force former president Jacob Zuma to appear, the Constitutional Court will finally deliver its ruling on Thursday, 28 January 2021, at 10:00.
The ruling will undoubtedly put to rest months of what some have called delaying tactics at the hands of the former president. From his blatant refusal to appear because, according to Zuma, he had his arms deal case to attend to, to his application to have the commission’s chairperson, Raymond Zondo recuse himself – which culminated in his dramatic walkout during proceedings.
“(1/2) Judgment on Thursday at 10h00: Is former President Jacob Zuma legally obliged to appear and give evidence before the State Capture Commission? (Secretary of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into allegations of State Capture v JG Zuma)” — Constitutional Court (@ConCourtSA) January 27, 2021
Should the highest court in the land rule in favour of Zuma, he would have no choice but to finally take the stand and state his case – having been directly implicated by at least 34 witnesses, it better be a strong one.
The commission’s legal counsel in the matter, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC seems to have covered all his bases, has also asked the court to determine whether Zuma can invoke his right not to incriminate himself.
“The respondent shall answer any questions put to him by the evidence leader(s) and the chairperson of the commission, subject to the privilege against self-incrimination, and may not rely on the right to remain silent,” the commission’s application reads.
This was prompted by a threat made by Zuma’s legal counsel Muzi Sikhakhane SC, during his arguments for Zondo to recuse himself, that his client would simply not utter a word, should he be forced to take the stand.
Zuma had argued that Zondo could not be the one presiding over the proceedings, given their “historical family relations” – the deputy chief justice fathered a child with Zuma’s sister-in-law. He had also said they were friends, but Zondo was quick to dismiss his claims.
Despite the Constitutional Court application, the State Capture Commission had sent a letter to Zuma, saying he was still required to appear from 18 January 2021. However, in true Zuma fashion, he was a no show, once again.
“As you know, on December 29, 2020, the ConCourt reserved its judgment in the application I brought in that court for an order that you comply with the summonses requiring you to appear before the commission on January 18-22 2021 and on 1 February 15-19 2021,” the commission’s Prof Itumeleng Mosala wrote.