The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said the actions of former president Jacob Zuma when he walked out of the state capture commission on Thursday, were the actions of someone “who thinks that he is above the law”.
Zuma left the proceedings without permission on Thursday when commission chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, rejected an application the former president had lodged for his recusal.
In a statement, executive director Neeshan Balton said: “This is a ‘judicial’ commission of inquiry. Its rules and proceedings are meant to be upheld. When a summons is issued to an individual, and that person defies [it], then the commission has every right to ensure that the summons is enforced.
“If someone disregards a summons, they stand the risk of being arrested or fined or both. In the case of the former president, we want the law to take its course. The criminal justice system should act to uphold the rule of law.”
Balton added that the commission should take action against Zuma.
“We commend Judge Zondo for turning down the recusal application and not acquiescing to attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the commission.
“However, if the former president is simply let off the hook and not brought to account before the commission, in compliance with his summons, it sets a negative precedent for other witnesses who still have to testify and who may have a case to answer for.”
The former president later said he would rather be jailed than be “bullied” by the commission.
Meanwhile, the Jacob Zuma Foundation commended Zuma for his actions.