Judge seeks jail for Jacob Zuma over ‘contempt of court’

A official inquiry into “state capture” in South Africa will be filing papers against ex-President Jacob Zuma for once more defying a court summons, its chairman says.

Mr Zuma failed to appear before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s commission despite the Constitutional Court ruling that he was compelled to do so.

Allegations that Mr Zuma presided over a wide-ranging network of corruption while president are the focus of the inquiry. It is alleged that his allies used their close relationship to him to win lucrative state contracts, and exert undue influence over state matters.

Justice Zondo seems to have run out of patience.

He was visibly upset by the no-show, and said Mr Zuma’s defiance had far-reaching implications for the law and could not be left unchallenged.

He added that an application would be made to the Constitutional Court to find Mr Zuma in contempt of court and for him to be sentenced to a jail term.

A contempt of court sentence can either be a fine of six months in jail.

Mr Zuma has claimed that Deputy Chief Justice Zondo is biased against him – and should therefore recuse himself – but has not provided any evidence to prove such a bias.

Forty witnesses have given evidence against Mr Zuma, who denies any wrongdoing.

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