South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma has been ordered to reappear at an inquiry into state corruption during his term after he abruptly left the proceedings last month, according to a summons issued by the head of the investigation.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is also asking the Constitutional Court, the highest legal authority in the land, to compel Zuma to attend and “account for his exercise of public power”.
In his second appearance at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture two weeks ago, Zuma had his application for the judge to recuse himself dismissed.
Zuma then left proceedings without permission, prompting Zondo, the chairman of the inquiry, to seek the declaration from the Constitutional Court, as well ask police to investigate the former leader’s conduct.
The inquiry now wants the former president to return to testify in January and February next year. In an affidavit to the Constitutional Court, Zondo said he did “not make this application lightly”.
“This court is ordinarily a court of final instance. However, I believe that only this court can grant effective and adequate relief in the circumstances to address the grave situation,” said Zondo.
Zuma was removed as president in 2018, a year before his second term was due to end. Numerous witnesses at the inquiry have implicated him in alleged wrongdoing during his nine years as head of state.
Zuma denies the allegations, and in a previous appearance at the inquiry said there was a conspiracy against him.
His lawyers were yet to respond to emailed and text requests from Reuters for comment. In addition to accusing the inquiry of bias, Zuma’s lawyers have also argued that he was busy with preparations for another trial.
Zuma faces charges of alleged fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a deal to buy European military equipment for South Africa’s armed forces in the 1990s. He is set appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday when the matter resumes.