S. Africa’s Zuma needs ‘time’ to think over graft probe snub: president
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday said his scandal-tainted predecessor Jacob Zuma needed “time” to reflect over his repeated snubs to a judicial investigation into graft during his tenure.
outh Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday said his scandal-tainted predecessor Jacob Zuma needed “time” to reflect over his repeated snubs to a judicial investigation into graft during his tenure.
Zuma, 78, has refused to appear before a panel probing the plunder of state coffers during his 2009-18 rule, accusing it of bias.
Zuma this week defied a top court order compelling him to testify, claiming he did not fear being arrested, convicted or incarcerated.
Ramaphosa on Friday said Zuma needed “time and space to think” about his decision and “hear what other people are saying”.
“He has expressed his own thoughts and views… but this is a matter that I am sure he is going to give much more thought to,” the president told journalists.
Ramaphosa said “a number of people and organisations” had approached Zuma over the matter.
Zuma was forced to resign in 2018 over graft scandals involving an Indian business family, the Guptas, who won lucrative contracts with state companies and were allegedly even able to choose cabinet ministers.
He set up the commission shortly before his ouster and only testified before it once in July 2019, but staged a walkout days later.
Zuma has not testified since, citing ill health or preparation for another graft case related to a 1990s arms deal set to begin this month.
Ruling African National Congress (ANC) party stalwarts and veterans on Friday scolded the ex-president for defying a top court ruling.
“It is brazen, shameless and demonstrates comtempt for our constitutional democracy,” they said in a statement.