By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Former president Jacob Zuma has missed the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) deadline to make representations to the apex court outlining how he wants to be censured should he be found guilty of contempt of court.
Zuma had until the close of business on Wednesday, 14 April 2021, to file an affidavit. The affidavit was Zuma’s last chance to persuade the ConCourt not to send him to prison if it finds that he is in contempt of court.
"I will not depose to an affidavit as presently directed, "Zuma said in a 21-page letter to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
Zuma said the questions posed to him were done with the "presumption that the Court that heard the application of the Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture… has not determined the merits of whether I am guilty of contempt of court."
The nature of the letter itself is "unprecedented", Zuma continued.
Zuma defied a Constitutional Court ruling ordering him to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture when he walked out of an active session during a tea break in November last year.
Before this, a summons was issued compelling Zuma to appear before the Commission.
The state capture commission, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, promptly directed secretary Professor Itumeleng Mosala to lay a charge against Zuma.
New dates were set for Zuma to appear again, which did not amount to any further testimonies.
On January 28, the Constitutional Court ordered Zuma to appear before the commission, led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, but he ignored the order. The deputy chief justice then petitioned the country’s top court to jail the scandal-tainted former leader for two years for contempt. Zuma did not participate in that hearing and did not file the required affidavits.
"I am resigned to being a prisoner of the Constitutional Court because it is clear to me that the Constitutional Court considers the state capture commission to be central to our national life and search for national truth on the state of governance during my presidency," Zuma further submitted to the court in his papers.