Zuma accuses S/Africa graft probe chief of ‘abusing power’

Former South African president Jacob Zuma on Monday attacked Commission of Inquiry into State Capture's chairperson and Deputy Chief Justice…

Former South African president Jacob Zuma on Monday attacked Commission of Inquiry into State Capture’s chairperson and Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, accusing him of abusing his office for seeking to imprison him for boycotting the panel’s hearings.Zuma has boycotted the commission’s hearings since November 2020, saying that Zondo was biased against him in his handling of the inquiry which registered 35 witnesses implicating the former president in serious corruption allegations during his nine-year rule that ended in 2018.

In a matter of natural justice, the commission summoned Zuma to give his side of the story following the accusations.

Zuma, however, said Zondo had mishandled his position during his previous appearances at the inquiry and he walked out on the hearings, vowing to never return unless Zondo recused himself from chairing it.

He took this matter to the Constitutional Court to seek the removal of Zondo, but the country’s highest court sided with the deputy chief justice by ordering Zuma to return to the witness stand to provide evidence as “a matter of public interest.”

But Zuma has continued to boycott the inquiry, and this led Zondo last week to request the Constitutional Court to consider imprisoning Zuma for two years as an example against similar refusals to appear before the inquiry in the future.

This request to the court to jail him apparently irked Zuma, leading his Jacob G. Zuma Foundation to issue a statement attacking Zondo for making the request for which the Constitutional Court has yet to give a response.

Zuma, who had previously said he did not fear imprisonment, said that the Zondo commission was determined to find him guilty by “hook or crook”.

“This desperation of the deputy chief justice, abusing his position as the second in charge in the Constitutional Court, instructing his subordinates to bend the laws of this country, is unprecedented.

“He ignores process and jurisdiction as prescribed in law, just to ensure that the Zuma state capture commission of inquiry finds president Zuma guilty by hook or crook to deliver him to some hidden masters,” Zuma’s foundation said.