Independent Political Analysis on Former President Zuma’s Contempt of Court Case

The Constitutional Court on Tuesday handed down judgment in former President Jacob Zuma’s contempt of court case. It said he was in contempt of court when he failed to appear and participate at the state capture inquiry.

Here’s some analysis from two independent political analyst Judith February and Ralph Mathekga!

Political analyst February said Zuma put his own interests ahead of those of the country, ducking accountability at every turn.

“It seems that now we are at the point where he has run out of road. In the next five days this will be the ultimate test for the rule of law in South Africa, whether former President Zuma presents himself for imprisonment and whether he then serves out this sentence handed down by the Constitutional Court today.”

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said much would depend on the ANC and its internal dynamics as to how things would unfold.

“Throughout his tenure as president, he sustained the idea that he was a victim of the criminal justice system – he wanted to create the impression that it was castigating him for his worldview and political ideas. Zuma was never a friend of the criminal justice system.”

This is an excerpt from the beginning of the judgment, and you can read the full judgment here.

It is indeed the lofty and lonely work of the Judiciary, impervious to public commentary and political rhetoric, to uphold, protect and apply the Constitution and the law at any and all costs. The corollary duty borne by all members of South African society – lawyers, laypeople and politicians alike – is to respect and abide by the law, and court orders issued in terms of it, because unlike other arms of State, courts rely solely on the trust and confidence of the people to carry out their constitutionally-mandated function. The matter before us has arisen because these important duties have been called into question, and the strength of the Judiciary is being tested. I pen this judgment in response to the precarious position in which this Court finds itself on account of a series of direct assaults, as well as calculated and insidious efforts launched by former President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, to corrode its legitimacy and authority. It is disappointing, to say the least, that this Court must expend limited time and resources on defending itself against iniquitous attacks. However, we owe our allegiance to the Constitution alone, and accordingly have no choice but to respond as firmly as circumstances warrant when we find our ability to uphold it besieged.

Justice Sisi Khampepe – Constitutional Court ruling
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