Friday, 26 March 2021 07:59

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Former president Jacob Zuma insists he will serve the prison term should the Constitutional Court decide on one.

Zuma has written a 25 point statement explaining why he didn’t appear before the state capture commission.

He said this in a late night statement after the Constitutional Court on Thursday heard argument by the state capture inquiry, which is asking the court to hold Zuma in contempt of court and to order his imprisonment for two years after he failed to comply with its order to abide by the commission’s lawful summons and directives.

Said Zuma: "Many now claim  there is a constitutional crisis. I do not see any constitutional crisis when I accept the statutory sanction that may accompany my conscientious objection to the conduct of certain senior members of the judiciary. The crisis would arise if I refused to face the sanction that accompanies my stance, if so determined by a competent court and impartial forum.

"All I said is that I am not afraid of going to jail as I was not under the apartheid system. However, I will not subject myself to an oppressive and unjust court system. They can put my physical body behind prison doors; however, my spirit is free to speak against the injustice of the imprisonment.

Said Zuma: "Many now claim  there is a constitutional crisis. I do not see any constitutional crisis when I accept the statutory sanction that may accompany my conscientious objection to the conduct of certain senior members of the judiciary. The crisis would arise if I refused to face the sanction that accompanies my stance, if so determined by a competent court and impartial forum.

"All I said is that I am not afraid of going to jail as I was not under the apartheid system. However, I will not subject myself to an oppressive and unjust court system. They can put my physical body behind prison doors; however, my spirit is free to speak against the injustice of the imprisonment.

"Our people — ordinary people — will gain their voice and when they do, not even the Constitutional Court will be spared the rigorous questions.

"All South Africans should be concerned about the dangerous situation we are heading towards. The core principles about separation of powers between the judiciary, legislature and the executive are being gradually weakened.

"More concerning for me as a person who fought for this democracy, is how the judiciary is now in the position where they are beyond reproach and the judges in this country are continuously taking extra powers to themselves to the detriment of legitimate democratic processes. I strongly agree with the public sentiment that is starting to see the emergence of a judicial dictatorship in SA. This, like the injustice of apartheid will not last as there are many like me who still stand for true freedom and democracy.

Unfortunately, when people rise up against this judicial corruption, our young democracy will unravel and many democratic gains will be lost in the ashes that will be left of what used to be our democratic state."

Zuma's blistering attack came only hours after the state capture commission's counsel Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC told the Constitutional Court that though Zuma had spoken of an imminent judicial crisis, there was none: "Our constitutional system provides an answer to what has transpired, even though it is unprecedented."

At least 40 witnesses have directly implicated  Zuma in arrangements to plunder tens of millions from state companies.

Zuma and his legal team did not attend the virtual hearing to respond to the contempt charges — a move that say it all but unheard-of in such a high-level case.

Concourt hearing on Thursday may be the beginning of a turning point. Not only does Zuma face a possible prison sentence from the outcome, but he will also stand trial in May for accusations that he took bribes from arms deal in the 1990's.

"For 15 years or more, Zuma has been using the strength of the South African court system to put off his day in court" by appealing cases against him.

Judgment was reserved by the apex court.