South Africa: Zondo Commission - Jacob Zuma's 'Public Defiance' Warrants an 'Appropriate' Sentence

Former president Jacob Zuma (file photo).
analysis

The Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture filed papers with the Constitutional Court on Monday in which it asked the court to find former president Jacob Zuma in contempt and to issue an 'appropriate' sentence for failing to assure the apex court that he would appear before the commission, as he had been ordered to do.

In its Heads of Argument to the Constitutional Court, the Zondo Commission said that the former president's "public defiance" of the court "appears calculated to undermine public trust in the judiciary and the administration of justice as a whole".

Zuma did not file a responding affidavit or notice to oppose, which garnered this reaction from the commission in its papers: "Bearing in mind what he has stated publicly about this court, it would have been expected that he would defend or explain his utterances on oath, before this court. The legal effect of his failure to file an opposing affidavit, however, is that all the facts alleged by the commission must be taken to be established."

There is no doubt that Zuma is in contempt of court, according to the commission. The question was what the appropriate sentence for the former president should...

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