South Africa: Time for Zondo to Take Off the Kid Gloves and Treat Zuma Like Any Other Witness

opinion

Former president Jacob Zuma is not keen to answer questions about his alleged involvement in corruption, bribery and State Capture. Over the years his lawyers have relied on procedural rules (linked to a politically convenient narrative of victimhood) to protect him from having to answer difficult questions in legal settings (which would require truthful answers). If you are really rich (or have unlimited access to public funds as Zuma did), you can buy your way out of (or indefinitely delay) legal accountability.

This week before the Zondo commission, advocate Thabani Masuku claimed that the commission's evidence leaders denied former president Jacob Zuma his dignity when they applied for a summons to force him to testify. "It's just extraordinary," complained Masuku, "but it tells us exactly what we accuse them of - that there is a deep-seated antipathy, and I use very strong terms because it is what it is, towards our client."

Masuku's performance before the commission was worthy of a Golden Globe nomination (perhaps in the supporting actor category). But legally, many of the claims and arguments made by him on former president Zuma's behalf - including the complaint that a summons infringed on Zuma's dignity - are pure...

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