South Africa: Day of Reckoning - a Critical Concourt Confirms Zondo's Powers and Forces Zuma's Hand

Former President Jacob Zuma at an African Union meeting.
analysis

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo entertained Jacob Zuma's delaying tactics at the State Capture Commission to the point where his fellow Constitutional Court justices criticised his inquiry's 'maladroit' conduct. The court affirmed the inquiry's powers, but it will be up to Zondo to use them as Zuma's date with accountability looms.

The State Capture Commission only won its case against Jacob Zuma due to the magnitude of the allegations against the former president and their implications for accountability and democracy.

For almost two years, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo decided not to use his powers under the Commissions Act to compel Zuma to meaningfully participate in the inquiry. He entertained Zuma's endless squabbles and his team negotiated in good faith with someone who only stood to benefit from derailing the commission's work.

On Thursday, Zondo's colleagues in the Constitutional Court affirmed his authority at the State Capture Commission, but much of the judgment deals with how his team had to rush to the apex court, months before Zondo's final deadline, to compel the inquiry's most important witness to appear and answer questions.

The law is clear: Zondo has the power to issue summonses to compel witnesses to appear and answer...

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