Jacob Zuma has been issued a stern ultimatum from the State Capture Inquiry, a week before the former president is due to make a hotly anticipated return to the Commission. His previous appearance two months ago went down in infamy, after the 78-year-old stormed out of the chambers without facing any questions about government corruption.

Jacob Zuma ‘to face criminal charges’ if he absconds from the State Capture Inquiry on Monday 18 January

The State Capture Inquiry’s Secretary, Itumeleng Mosala, has published a letter that warns uBaba about the grave consequences of skipping next Monday’s hearing. Although the ConCourt is yet to rule on whether it can compel Zuma to appear, Mosala has made it extremely clear that ‘criminal charges will be filed’ if he doesn’t show up:

“The commission wishes to make it clear to you that, even if the Constitutional Court has not handed down its judgment, you are obliged to comply with the summons and appear before it because the summons remains valid and binding on you since it had not been withdrawn, set aside or suspended.”

“It is possible the ConCourt might not have handed down its judgment [by the time Zuma is due to appear at the State Capture Inquiry]. The commission wishes to make it clear to you that failure on your part, without sufficient cause, to appear before it on Monday 18 January 2021 will constitute a criminal offence.”

Itumeleng Mosala

Criminal complaint ‘may be laid against JZ’

When Zuma left the Inquiry behind in November 2020 – rendering Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo gobsmacked – he flirted with illegality. South African law states that anyone summoned to a judicial commission must appear to answer questions when instructed. Msholozi broke this long-standing legislation in spectacular fashion.

Now once bitten, twice shy, the State Capture Inquiry panel has put all of its cards on the table: A second Zuma ‘no show’ would open up yet another course of litigation for JZ and his representatives.

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