A judicial commission probing corruption in South Africa has filed an application with the constitutional court, requesting it to jail former President Jacob Zuma for two years over contempt of court.
“It is declared that Jacob Gedleyihiekisa Zuma is guilty of contempt of court. He intentionally and unlawfully failed to appear before the judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture, corruption, and fraud in the public sector including organs of state,” the secretary of the commission said in his application on Monday.
Established in 2018, shortly before Zuma, 78, stepped down as the head of state, the State Capture Commission, led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, began interrogating senior politicians and former officials accused of corruption.
Zuma stepped down from office amid pressure from his own ruling African National Congress party. He is accused of giving lucrative state contracts to the Guptas, a wealthy Indian family that was close to him.
This form of relationship is now widely known as “state capture” in South Africa, a practice of corruption where businessmen influence politicians to favor their interests.
The Guptas are said to have influenced Zuma’s appointments of top government officials, including ministers, whom they would later use to win lucrative contracts. Both Zuma and the Guptas, however, deny the allegations.
Many officials have been called to testify before the commission.
Zuma accuses Zondo of being biased against him and had asked the latter to recuse himself from the hearing. But the judge declined, saying he was doing his job without bias.
The constitutional court ruled last month that Zuma is obliged to appear before the commission.
Zondo said the allegations made against Zuma by dozens of witnesses are being treated as evidence because they were given under oath, and some of the witnesses have been subjected to cross-examination.