29 December 2020
The HSF applies for admission as amicus curiae in the State Capture Commission’s Constitutional Court bid against Mr. Zuma
The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) has applied to the Constitutional Court for admission as amicus curiae in the matter between the Secretary of the State Capture Commission and Mr. Jacob Zuma, the former President of the Republic of South Africa. The matter is being heard by the Constitutional Court today, 29 December 2020.
The Secretary of the State Capture Commission brought an urgent application directly to the Constitutional Court seeking various declaratory and mandatory orders. These orders are aimed at ensuring that Mr. Zuma, who is at the heart of the allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud being investigated by the Commission, complies with the Commission’s summonses and directives by appearing before the Commission and satisfactorily answering any questions put to him.
The application was precipitated by Mr. Zuma leaving a hearing of the Commission without the Chairperson’s permission and refusing or failing to attend the Commission in accordance with a summons directing his attendance. The Secretary of the State Capture Commission’s application highlights Mr. Zuma’s special constitutional obligation as the former President to account for the exercise of his powers and for the performance of his constitutional obligations whilst in office.
The HSF has made submissions before the Court concerning Mr. Zuma’s clear and unambiguous statutory duty to comply with the summonses and directives of the Commission. The HSF contends that these statutory duties are informed by the constitutional principle of equality before the law and the values of accountability and the rule of law, which permit no exceptions or exemptions from the coercive subpoena powers of the Commission.
The HSF’s submissions also draw attention to the constitutional rights and values that will be undermined if Mr. Zuma is not ordered to comply with the Commission’s summonses and directives, and to appear before the Commission to answer any questions put to him. In particular, the HSF submits that the public has a collective right to the truth in relation to state capture, corruption and fraud, which may be inferred from a number of rights in the Bill of Rights understood in light of South Africa’s customary international law obligations.
The HSF’s application for admission as amicus curiae can be found here.
The HSF’s written submission can be found here.
Statement issued by Francis Antonie, Helen Suzman Foundation, 29 December 2020