Former President Jacob Zuma will likely appear at the state capture commission next month as earlier summonsed after the Constitutional Court ordered him to give evidence at the inquiry.
Zuma, who has avoided giving evidence at the commission for months now, will be held in contempt of court should he disobey the ruling of the highest court in the land. The commission approached the court after he failed to appear on multiple occasions despite being summonsed to do so, after complaining that the judicial inquiry was biased against him.
Zuma is now stuck between a rock and a hard place, with no room to escape answering questions at the commission. This after the Constitutional Court made it clear that he could not remain silent when asked questions during his appearance as this right was only available to arrested and accused persons and not witnesses.
However, section 3 subsection 4 of the Commission’s Act extends him the privilege not to answer self-incriminating questions but if he opts for this, he will have to explain the reasons why he could incriminate himself.
While delivering the judgment on Thursday, Justice Chris Jafta scolded Zuma for failing to adhere with the commission’s directives to give evidence albeit that he is the one who promulgated the terms of reference which govern its functions while serving as president.
“It is ironic that the directives were issued in terms of regulations made by the former president himself. It is, therefore, unacceptable that he is the one who frustrates its investigation.”
Zuma was originally scheduled to give evidence at the commission in January and February this year, but he withdrew his participation when his application for the inquiry’s chairperson to recuse himself from the proceedings was dismissed.