Zuma versus Zondo: SA Constitutional Court Reserves Judgment

South Africa’s Constitutional Court has reserved judgement in an application brought before it by the State Capture Commission to have former president Jacob Zuma jailed over his refusal to appear before the proceedings.

The country’s highest court heard the commission’s bid on Thursday, March 25, 2021, during a virtual sitting.

Representing the commission, advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi explained to the justices why he should be granted access, as opposed to a lower court.

Ngcukaitobi argued that at this point they were not seeking to force Zuma to take the stand, but rather for him to be sentenced.

“His (Zuma’s) conduct must be seen for what it is – a cynical manoeuvre to avoid accountability. Zuma has made public utterances against this court that are false, malicious and unjustified. (He has made) unfounded comparisons between this court and the apartheid judiciary (and) attempted to discredit this court and its members”

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Ngcukaitobi further took a swipe at Zuma for not even considering a response to the commission’s application with the apex court. He remarked that at this point, the only course of action is direct imprisonment for Jacob Zuma without any other options.

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi

“Any other procedure that can be set up, simply enables the further exploitation of the judiciary process. Where matters stand right now is direct imprisonment,” he said.

Ngcukaitobi said the two-year prison term they want imposed on Zuma will show the level of seriousness of his actions and that people should not be allowed to wage political campaigns against judges.

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About 34 witnesses have implicated Zuma in allegations of corruption during proceedings. He maintains that the hearings, under Zondo, have already determined that he is guilty.

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