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'It's a constitutional crisis that Zuma extended middle finger to commission'

19 November 2020 7:10 PM
Tags:
UCT
Jacob Zuma
State Capture
NPA
The Money Show
Bruce Whitfield
Cathy Powell
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo
Zondo commission
contempt of court
Inquiry into State Capture
Zondo recusal application

The Zondo Commission needs to crack the whip after Jacob Zuma left without permission says public law expert Cathy Powell.
Jacob Zuma leaves the Zondo Commission with his lawyer on 19 November 2020. Image: screengrab from SABC live feed

It is a pity that he has elected to leave without asking for permission.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo

The chairperson of the state capture inquiry adjourned proceedings on Thursday after Jacob Zuma and his legal team left without asking to be excused at the tea break.

It's a serious matter. In terms of the commission's plans for this week... he was going to be asked to take the witness stand and be questioned about various matters we are investigating as a commission.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo

The former president had made a brief appearance to hear the (delayed) ruling on his application for Zondo to recuse himself from the commission.

RELATED: 'I dispute that we were never friends' - Zuma succeeds in delaying Zondo ruling

Zondo dismissed the recusal application, saying he was not friends with Zuma.

Bruce Whitfield interviews Cathy Powell, Associate Professor in Public Law at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

They can't disappear like that. There are all sorts of rules that stop them from doing so.

Cathy Powell, Associate Professor in Public Law - University of Cape Town

They're managing to break a whole lot of rules at once... Some of the rules create criminal offences.

Cathy Powell, Associate Professor in Public Law - University of Cape Town

She points out that the commission has the status and powers of a court of law for the purpose of it gathering evidence.

Contempt of court is only one of the offences Zuma is now guilty of.

Powell outlines the immediate action Zondo could now take.

Just as he issued a summons in the first place, once he is requested to do so in a well-substantiated argument from the commission's lawyers, he could issue a warrant of arrest.

Cathy Powell, Associate Professor in Public Law - University of Cape Town

That is just to get Jacob Zuma back to testify.

Cathy Powell, Associate Professor in Public Law - University of Cape Town

As far as prosecuting the actual crime is concerned, that's going to have to be done by the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) because you have to establish in a criminal court that he's guilty of these offences.

Cathy Powell, Associate Professor in Public Law - University of Cape Town

She says Zondo's powers include compelling Zuma to attend the inquiry and to testify, through imprisonment if necessary.

We're in a pretty desperate position if the Zondo Commission doesn't crack the whip now because this is unprecedented.

Cathy Powell, Associate Professor in Public Law - University of Cape Town

It's a constitutional crisis that anybody, let alone a former president, can extend the middle finger to the entire commission, to a constitutional structure that has been confirmed by courts of law and came from a Chapter Nine institution.

Cathy Powell, Associate Professor in Public Law - University of Cape Town

Listen to Powell's analysis below:


19 November 2020 7:10 PM
Tags:
UCT
Jacob Zuma
State Capture
NPA
The Money Show
Bruce Whitfield
Cathy Powell
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo
Zondo commission
contempt of court
Inquiry into State Capture
Zondo recusal application

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