The commission of inquiry into state capture has asked the Constitutional Court to sentence former president Jacob Zuma to two years behind bars for contempt – after he defied its ruling that he appear before the commission and answer non-incriminating questions.
In an urgent application filed in the Constitutional Court on Monday afternoon, the inquiry sought an order that Zuma “intentionally and unlawfully” failed “… to appear before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on 15-19 February”.
It also submits that he “failed or refused to furnish the Commission with affidavits”, which Zondo directed him to provide to the inquiry on issues related to Eskom and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.
The commission further wants Police Minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole to be ordered “to take all steps as may be required to give effect to the order” that Zuma be “sentenced to imprisonment for a term of two (2) years”, for contempt.
It wants Zuma to be ordered to pay the costs of the contempt application – which is believed to be the first of its kind in South African history.
Last week, the former president made good on his promise that he wouldn’t appear before the commission, claiming it wasn’t fair and independent.
This forced Zondo to announce that the commission would be approaching the Constitutional Court.
The deputy chief justice said it was a “pity” that Zuma had opted not to appear before the inquiry.
Both before and after his no-show, Zuma was visited by several politicians in Nkandla, including EFF leader Julius Malema and Cele. It’s understood they, like other officials in the ANC, had tried to persuade Zuma to change his mind.
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