Former President Jacob Zuma
Photo by: Reuters
The Zondo commission of inquiry has served summons on former president Jacob Zuma to testify before it not only in January next year, but also for a second week in February.
The commission said on Thursday a summons was served on Zuma to appear before it from January 18 to 22 and again from February 15 to 19.
Commission spokesperson Mbuyiselo Stemela said the commission had yet to lay a criminal charge with the police against Zuma for walking out of the commission on November 19 after Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo dismissed the application he had brought for his recusal.
Zuma had argued that Zondo had abandoned the required objectivity and led witnesses to implicate him in state capture scandals.
Zondo said the former president’s exit, while under summons and without permission, was a serious matter.
Stemela said the commission would lay criminal charges against Zuma once it had filed an application to the Constitutional Court for an order compelling him to comply with the new summons served on him.
Should the court application succeed, Zuma would find himself in contempt of court if he defied the summons and face arrest.
The commission intends to ask the National Prosecuting Authority to investigate Zuma’s conduct, once it has formally laid charges with the police.
Zuma has signalled that he would seek to challenge Zondo’s refusal to recuse himself.
His lawyer, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, argued that the former president had reason to fear that taking the stand at the commission would be like entering “a slaughterhouse”.
Sikhakhane led Zuma out of the sitting, and has signalled that should his client be forced to appear before the commission he may choose to remain silent.