Civil Society Supports Zondo Commission – Tells Zuma to Respect the Constitution

9 March 2021

Some of South Africa’s foremost civil society organisations have come out strongly in support of the State Capture Commission and have insisted that former president Jacob Zuma abide by the law. The 13 civil society organisations released a joint statement overnight stating that the politicising of the Zondo Commission needs to stop, while condemning Zuma’s continued defiance of the commission.

The statement reads:

We, representatives of civil society, jointly issue this statement condemning former president Jacob Zuma’s insistence on defying the State Capture Commission and the dangerous attacks he and other political actors have levelled at the judiciary without offering evidence in support of such charges.  

This kind of behaviour and blatant disregard of the law shows that those who are implicated in looting the state will place their own selves before the law, and before others whose lives their crimes have impacted.

South Africans have been waiting patiently, for nearly a decade, to hear the truth about State Capture. The Zondo Commission, which is funded by the public, must be allowed to do its job on behalf of the country. 

Activists, whistle-blowers and community leaders have shown their support of and submitted evidence to the commission.  

We wish also to indicate our support for the commission and the importance of its mandate at a time when it faces such baseless attacks. It is time to stop politicising the Zondo Commission and follow the laws that apply to us all. 

We know all too well that we come from a past of unconscionable inhumanity and inequality, where immunity for those who oversaw and implemented apartheid was the order of the day.

Our Constitution was always intended to represent a break from that past. It rests on the predicate that all of us are equal before this law

There can be no more harmful assault on this bedrock than that a former president, who has enjoyed every power and privilege under this law – and continues to enjoy the privileges of his former office – should insist that he be immune from the reach of the commission and of the Constitutional Court, and that this impunity stand unchecked. 

That he would insist on immunity while also seeking to sully the reputation of our judiciary, but making no credible case for these damaging charges, is but a further affront. 

Every citizen, including the state itself, is beholden to the Constitution, including Mr Zuma, and we trust that the Constitutional Court will find accordingly when it considers this matter on 25 March 2021. 

We have all come too far to allow underhanded politics to poison the well of truth and justice.

Signed by: 

  • Ahmed Kathrada Foundation (AKF) 
  • Alternative Information & Development Centre (AIDC)  
  • Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) 
  • Corruption Watch (CW) 
  • Dullah Omar Institute (DOI) 
  • Freedom Under Law (FUL) 
  • Legal Resources Centre (LRC) 
  • MyVoteCounts (MVC)  
  • Open Secrets (OS) 
  • Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) 
  • Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) 
  • Right2Know (R2K) 
  • South African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI)

First published in Daily Maverick by Civil Society Group on State Capture.