The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) on Saturday said it was giving the state capture commission of inquiry time to consider former President Jacob Zuma’s walkout, warning it could take legal action against him.
Zuma walked out of the commission shortly after Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo dismissed his application to recuse himself on Thursday.
“No one can excuse themselves from the commission after being summonsed, as they must be granted permission by the commissioner. This is deemed a criminal offence and we believe the deputy chief justice needs to act decisively, so as to ensure no precedent is set for others,” said Outa’s executive director, Advocate Stefanie Fick, in a statement.
“No one is above the law, including the former president,” she added.
The former president does not want Zondo to chair the commission, claiming he would be biased against him because they are friends. However, Zondo maintains he is not conflicted because of his personal relations with the former president.
Zuma and his legal team walked out of the commission without permission from the deputy chief justice. He was summoned to the inquiry following serious allegations of corruption levelled against him by witnesses.
The former president’s walkout has been largely criticized with some labeling his actions as disrespectful to the commission.
Outa was also dismayed saying Zondo should take action.
“South Africa has suffered enough under Jacob Zuma’s term of presidency and this commission was set up to get to the bottom of state capture, a matter to which he has been central. We are calling on the Zondo commission to take action against Jacob Zuma for contempt,” Fick said.
The state capture commission was forced to adjourn last week and it was still unclear what action Zondo would take, but Outa said he should act decisively.
“You are not above the law Mr Zuma and like everyone else involved in the gross mismanagement and misappropriation of state funds, you need to answer the questions put to you,” said Fick. “Your constant Stalingrad delay tactics will no longer be tolerated.”
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