After a week of madness at the State Capture Inquiry in which former President Jacob Zuma did a runner during an adjournment off his hearing with Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) have penned a scathing appraised of his controversial actions.
Accused of a plethora of acts of corruption and state capture linked to his tenure as South Africa’s President, Zuma felt that enough was enough on Thursday 19 November and left the inquiry during a tea-break after his legal team engaged in arguments to determine whether or not Zondo should recuse himself from the trial. Zuma insists that he is being unfairly tried due to his relationship with Zondo, which the DCJ adamantly refutes.
Outa demand reproach for Zuma
The former president does not want Zondo to chair the commission, claiming he would be biased against him because they are friends, but Zondo maintained he is by no means conflicted and dismissed Zuma’s application against him. Zuma subsequently charged that he’d rather go to jail than deal with Zondo.
Outa’s executive director, Advocate Stefanie Fick, said in a statement on Saturday 21 November that Zuma’s behaviour is criminal and demands reproach.
“No one can excuse themselves from the commission after being summonsed, as they must be granted permission by the commissioner. This is deemed a criminal offence and we believe the deputy chief justice needs to act decisively, so as to ensure no precedent is set for others,” she said.
“No one is above the law, including the former president,” she added.
‘South Africans tired of Zuma’
After years of corruption and stagnant economic growth during Zuma’s term in office – years which have become widely referred to as the “lost decade” – Fick said that South African’s have had enough of Zuma’s shenanigans.
“South Africa has suffered enough under Jacob Zuma’s term of presidency and this commission was set up to get to the bottom of state capture, a matter to which he has been central,” she said.
“We are calling on the Zondo commission to take action against Jacob Zuma for contempt.”
‘Stalingrad tactics’ unacceptable
Addressing Zuma directly, Fick said that no further delays are tolerable.
“You are not above the law Mr Zuma and like everyone else involved in the gross mismanagement and misappropriation of state funds, you need to answer the questions put to you,” said Fick. “Your constant Stalingrad delay tactics will no longer be tolerated.”
The commission was forced to adjourn until Monday 23 November after the baffling antics, and it is yet to be determined what – if any – action will be taken to punish Zuma.