Deputy Chief Justice and chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture Raymond Zondo has instructed the commission’s secretary to lay a criminal complaint against former President Jacob Zuma with the South African Police Service.
This follows Zuma’s walkout from the commission last week, without having been excused, after Zuma’s application to have Zondo recuse himself from the inquiry was dismissed.
“Given the seriousness of Mr Zuma’s conduct and the impact that his conduct may have on the work of the commission and the need to ensure that we give effect to the constitutional provisions that everyone is equal before the law, I have decided to request the secretary of the commission to lay a criminal complaint with the South African Police against Mr Zuma, so that the police can investigate his conduct and in this regard, the secretary would make available to the police all information relevant, as well as make information available to the National Prosecuting Authority,” Zondo said at the State Capture Commission on Monday.
He reiterated that Zuma was not entitled to excuse himself from the commission and that he did so without permission, as the summons directing Zuma to attend and remain in attendance was still valid and binding and had not been set aside.
Zondo will summon Zuma to appear before the commission on news dates and an urgent application will also be made to the Constitutional Court to compel Zuma to appear in compliance with the new summons and to not leave without Zondo’s permission.
Zondo read out Section 6 of the commission’s Act, which states that any person summoned to attend and give evidence before a commission, who without sufficient cause, fails to attend at the time and place specified in the summons or to remain in attendance until he is excused by the chairman of the commission from further attendance, shall be guilty of an offence.
Zondo reinforced that the law was binding and it was not up to Zuma to excuse himself, calling his walkout a serious matter.
“It impacts on the integrity of the commission, rule of law and public accountability and in this regard it is important that we all remember that the matters which this commission is investigating and on which it seeks to question Mr Zuma are matters that happened largely when Mr Zuma was president of the republic and had an obligation to account for what was happening during his presidency as the president of the republic,” Zondo said.
He said Zuma could not have been under any confusion about the need to request the chairperson's permission to leave the commission and worried that Zuma’s conduct may influence other witnesses to take similar action when summonsed to appear before the commission.
Zondo said the commission was determined to carry out its functions in accordance with the law and Constitution.