Former South African President Jacob Zuma on Monday boycotted the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, which is probing alleged corruption under his nine-year rule that unceremoniously ended in February 2018.Zuma was scheduled to appear before the commission from 15 to 19 February but his lawyer sent a letter to the body explaining that his client would not show up on Monday due to a pending court review.
According to the defence, the court review is expected to decide on Zuma’s complaint that current commission chair and Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo refused to recuse himself from the hearings after the former president complained that he was biased against him.
The second reason for Zuma’s failure to attend the commission’s hearing was due to the “irregular summons” issued to the former president informing him to attend the inquiry, the lawyer said in the letter.
The summons was not “in line with the Fourth Order of the Constitutional Court judgment of 28 January 2021,” he explained.
Two weeks ago the Constitutional Court in its ruling ordered Zuma to appear before the panel as “a matter of public interest”, and that he had no choice in the matter.
Zuma, however, announced in a statement days later that he would no longer attend the inquiry, challenging the judiciary that he was not afraid of being arrested and going to prison, should the law take its course.
Zondo and his fellow commissioners have yet to respond to Zuma’s absence or his lawyer’s letter explaining his no-show act for the hearings.
Zuma has received support from scores of ruling African National Congress party members, including the ANC secretary general and fraud suspect, Ace Magashule, whose own court appearance on alleged corruption charges is pending.
The former president is believed to be at his homestead in Nkandla Village in KwaZulu Natal.
In the village Zuma is enjoying the company of veterans of the armed struggle who have vowed to defend him from the security agents, warning that there would be “consequences if Zuma is arrested.”