The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation welcomes the imminent contempt of Court application that the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture will lay against former President Jacob Zuma.
This follows the former President’s failure to appear before the Commission on Monday, despite a Constitutional Court ruling compelling him to do so.
The Foundation’s Executive Director, Neeshan Balton, said, “This cements our view that Zuma is simply not interested in the rule of law, public accountability and justice.”
“The contempt of Court application should be dealt with fairly and objectively, without any preferential treatment being bestowed on the former head of state. The rule of law must be applied to Zuma as it would to any other citizen of this country. Failure to do so will set a dangerous precedent and undermine our constitutional democracy,” he added.
Balton applauded Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo for the integrity with which he has led the Commission, and evidence leader, Advocate Paul Pretorius, for laying bare what Zuma must account for. In doing so, Pretorius has dispelled the consistently perpetuated notion that Zuma has nothing to answer for.
“Zuma has to respond to the testimony of some 40 witnesses. The litany of allegations includes his relationship with the Guptas and whether the family unduly benefited from this friendship; questions around the rushed nuclear deal; reports of political interference at SOEs; the apparent failure of Parliament and the criminal justice sector in exercising oversight and accountability, and the alleged repurposing of the intelligence services.”
Balton furthermore expressed deep concern about “a cohort of the former President’s supporters beginning to behave like a paramilitary outfit in a bid to prevent the law from taking its course”. He was referring to the group of ‘MKMVA veterans’ camped outside the former President’s Nkandla household to prevent his potential arrest.
“While such undemocratic acts are usually reserved for desperate tin-pot dictators, South Africans should be concerned that it is now being employed in a bid to ‘protect’ a former president in our country.”
“We have to ask who are these supposed military veterans that are willing to prevent constitutionally mandated law enforcement agencies from carrying out their duties? What are the consequences should this occur, not just for the individuals involved and those organising the group, but for our democracy? And what does the political party that they claim to represent say and do?” Balton asked.
“Our country cannot be dictated by anti-democratic behaviour; tea-parties; an ongoing evasion of justice; businesspeople who have the money to fund political parties and politicians in exchange for favours, and by thugs masquerading as champions of the poor.”
“We can ill-afford the destructive politics of self-interest, particularly as we deal with a global pandemic, a weak and skewed economy, unemployment and poverty, the impact of corruption and capture, and other social ills. As individuals and collectives across various sectors we should continue raising our voice against all those who seek to undermine our democracy.”