Former president Jacob Zuma will not be appearing before the Zondo Commission as the summons issued against him to appear on February 15-19 is irregular and not in line with the fourth order of the Constitutional Court judgement of January 28 2021, his legal team said.
Through his legal team, Zuma again said he would not appear before the inquiry chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo. This despite a formal notice from the commission stating he was expected to appear at 10am.
“We formally inform the commission, as a matter of courtesy, that our client will not be appearing before the commission on February 15-19 2021,” said the Zuma team.
“The summons issued for our client to appear on February 15-19 is irregular and not in line with the fourth order of the Constitutional Court judgement of January 28 2021.”
The letter, written by Mabuza Attorneys and directed to the commission, suggests Zuma’s decision is based on historical, personal and family relations with Zondo, which were previously stated.
“The commission is aware the review application which [former] president Zuma has instituted to set aside the refusal by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo to recuse himself from hearing matters concerning him and his family is yet to be determined by the court.
“Appearing before DCJ Zondo, in the circumstances, would undermine and invalidate the review application over his decision not to recuse himself.
“We also place on record that the review application was not before the Constitutional Court and, accordingly, was not considered , determined and or adjudicated by that court.”
Zuma’s decision has been heavily criticised and has caused division within the ANC, with calls for him to be removed as a party member.
His lawyers said his decision was by no means defiance of the law. “We reiterate that the above should not be construed to suggest any defiance of any legal process.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa was among those who weighed in the matter. He said Zuma needed to be given time to think carefully about his decision.
“This is a matter which I’m sure he’s going to give much more thought to because he’s being counselled by a number of people and organisations that the constitutional structure that he contributed so much to needs to be given consideration,” Ramaphosa said on the matter on Friday.
“I’m sure in his own mind, in his own time, he will think about this,” he said.
Ramaphosa’s sentiments came days after the ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule came out in defence of Zuma, saying he had done nothing wrong.
“Why should we suspend a person who believes in what he believes? Why should we call him to order when he’s done nothing wrong? There is no structure of the ANC, be it a province or region, which can call for Zuma to be disciplined. They are out of order.
“They are populists who always try to do this, and the ANC is quiet about these populists who like to appear in the media,” said Magashule.