Former president Jacob Zuma and Ace Magashule during an ANC gala dinner on 10 January 2014 in Mbombela. (Photo by Gallo Images / City Press / Elizabeth Sejake)
- Ace Magashule says Jacob Zuma will decide with his legal team whether to attend the Zondo commission.
- The ANC top six met with Zuma to discuss his decision not to comply with the commission.
- Zuma maintained that he is a victim of unfair persecution and bias.
In a meeting with the ANC top six on Monday, former president Jacob Zuma maintained his defiance of the Zondo Commission of Inquiry.
Zuma refused to capitulate to pleas that he should appear before the commission.
Party secretary-general Ace Magashule said the seven-hour virtual meeting resolved that Zuma would decide whether he appears before the commission after consultation with his lawyers.
“The top six agreed to give him space to continue consulting with his lawyers about whether to appear before the judicial commission of inquiry…we left that matter because he will further consult his lawyers.”
Zuma had violated a constitutional court order, which ruled he should appear and answer questions before the commission.
“Comrade Zuma made a very extensive presentation on what prompted his decision not to appear before the Zondo commission.. he also talked about his rights as a South African,” Magashule said.
The meeting was held virtually “after logistical glitches”, with Magashule insisting it was “very good” and “very constructive”.
Former president Zuma has missed his Constitutional Court deadline to file a response to the state capture inquiry contempt application that could see him facing jail time – a strong indication that he will not oppose the historic case. | @karynmaughan https://t.co/Wt9BXHQXZN
— News24 (@News24) March 8, 2021
Magashule said Zuma believed he was entitled to have his rights protected, as enshrined in the Constitution.
“Comrade Zuma told the top six that he has been subjected to unfair persecution and prosecution over two decades. He emphasised that he respects the Constitution and he is entitled to the basic rights,” he said.
The former president has maintained that the chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, was biased against him. The judge had fathered a child with the sister of his estranged wife, Tobeka.
Zuma now stands accused of repeatedly defying an inquiry summons, walking out of the commission on 19 November, and making false claims of corruption against the judiciary.
The commission is seeking a two-year jail time for Zuma at the Constitutional Court for his refusal to appear before it.
Magashule said Zuma has not refused to appear before the commission – but “he has issues, not with the commission, but with the judge”.
The secretary-general, who is a loyal Zuma ally, said there was nothing wrong with differing with judges.
Magashule would not emphatically say whether the ANC top six instructed Zuma to appear before the Zondo commission.
He noted that there were “divergent views” in the meeting, but insisted that it was “one of the best meetings”.
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