JOINT STATEMENT BY ORGANISATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS IN FORMER PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA'S CONSTITUTIONAL COURT MATTER
Twenty-five years ago, the people of this country adopted the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996), affirming a decisive break from a history of colonial exploitation and apartheid oppression.
As citizens and organisations across various sectors, we reiterate our commitment to the Constitution - the democratic code of rights and responsibilities that governs the conduct of the people and the state.
We recognise that the judiciary ensures the supremacy of the Constitution. An independent judiciary underpins the success of our democracy. It prevents unbridled power from corrupting, guards against lawlessness, and protects the rights of all who live in South Africa.
Contempt of court charges against former President Jacob Zuma are currently being reviewed by the Constitutional Court. These charges relate to his refusal to appear before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture and to respond to the testimony of some 40 witnesses implicating him in aspects of state capture. Former President Zuma chose not to be represented at the Constitutional Court when the matter appeared before the Court. In subsequent statements, he took the opportunity to question the judiciary’s integrity, objectivity and independence.
We record our commitment to the rule of law. We affirm our belief in the most basic concept that governs our democracy - that all are equal before the law; even the powerful.
If former President Zuma is found to be guilty of contempt of Court, we are aware that the sentence could include jail time, a fine and/or a suspended sentence.
We declare that regardless of the outcome, we stand by the Constitutional Court. In doing so, we commit to:
- Communicate to our constituencies that we accept the ruling in the matter of the Constitutional Court;
- Speak out against unwarranted attacks on the judiciary;
- Create awareness within our constituencies and the broader public on safeguarding the independence of the judiciary; and
- Stand firmly against any group attempting to destabilise our democracy due to its objection to the ruling of the Constitutional Court.
We hereby pledge to respect and uphold the decision of the Constitutional Court in relation to the case of former President Zuma, irrespective of its outcome.
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