By SMN Reporter
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa|SHIFTMEDIA| His woes are far from over! Jacob Zuma, the former South African president is facing criminal charges for walking out of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture without permission last week.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo declared at the start of proceedings of his commission on Monday that the former head of state would be investigated.
“Most of the evidence is available as it was broadcast live on TV,” said Zondo, adding that the commission secretariat would lay the charges with police.
Zuma faces a fine, which was UK£50 in 1947, likely to be updated by any adjudicating court to around US$650 (UGx2.4m), and jail time of up to six months. Zondo will also summon Zuma.
Prior testimony at the commission – from 35 out of over 250 witnesses – has severely implicated Zuma in both directly or indirectly facilitating wide-scale corruption and dubious financial dealings amounting to losses from the public purse of over US$65 billion.
Zuma first appeared before the commission last year during which he spun out a highly improbable tale going back to the early 1990s involving various foreign spying agencies in a “plot” to bring him down.
When he had finished his initial testimony, in which numerous apparently fact-free allegations were made, including against supposed current and former ‘comrades in the struggle’, the commission investigators began to question Zuma in greater detail. He objected, saying he felt that he was being “cross-examined”.
In an extraordinary move, seen as a bid to forestall Zuma’s ongoing ‘Stalingrad’ legal tactic of playing out every and all possible appeals and options in order to delay appearing in the witness box, Zondo is approaching the Constitutional Court to have its non-appealable support for the former president’s required attendance at the commission on dates set.
Counterpointing Zondo’s moves are Zuma’s efforts to have the DCJ non-recusal overturned and to lay related complaints before the judicial oversight authority for alleged ‘misconduct’.
Zuma’s efforts to have both Zondo’s non-recusal ruling overturned and somehow to avoid testifying at the commission, are doomed to fail, in the view of almost all legal analysts. They point out that Zondo could have simply issued an arrest warrant for Zuma.
As DCJ, and obviously intimately acquainted with the facts of the matter, Zondo could have issued a bench warrant, but preferred handing the issue over to the police and prosecuting authorities so that he can further demonstrate his non-bias.
Zuma’s legal team began proceedings with an attack on the heart of the commission in making arguments for Zondo to recuse himself.
Taking an extra day to consider that application – made on the basis of Zondo’s alleged prior personal relations with Zuma, described by the former president as a ‘friendship’, which the DCJ denied.