Jacob Zuma parole

Former president Jacob Zuma. – Image: Twitter / @Mahlubi_Stephen

Constitutional Court: ‘Are we imposing on Zuma’s freedom of speech?’

The State Capture Commission is gunning for former president Jacob Zuma and wants the Constitutional Court to defend its authority

Jacob Zuma parole

Former president Jacob Zuma. – Image: Twitter / @Mahlubi_Stephen

Former president Jacob Zuma’s scathing criticism of the judiciary made it to the Constitutional Court on Thursday, March 25, 2021, being subject of debate between advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and Judge Leona Theron.

Ngcukaitobi said Zuma must not be let off the hook, particularly in the wake of his attacks on some of the country’s judges. However Theron asked whether coming for Zuma’s remarks may not be in violation of his right to freedom of speech.

Judge Leona Theron: “Doesn’t any person have the freedom of speech to criticise this court? Wouldn’t we impinging on Mr Zuma’s freedom of speech if we have to take his criticism of this court as aggravating circumstances?”

Advocate Ngcukaitobi: “There is no one who is entitled to insult falsely and untruthfully the Constitutional Court. Everyone is entitled to say the judges are wrong. Everyone is entitled to say that judgements do not follow the law. But there is no one who is entitled to say that judges have abandoned the green robes (which Constitutional Court judges wear). No one is entitled to say that some judges received money from Ramaphosa”

Ngcukaitobi on Jacob Zuma’s ‘attacks’ on the judiciary

Advocate Ngcukaitobi made reference to Jacob Zuma’s allegation that President Cyril Ramaphosa paid judges to keep his CR17 campaign fund documents sealed. The matter is currently the subject of a fierce legal battle between Ramaphosa and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who want the anonymous donours to his bid for the ANC presidency, revealed.

“We sit with some Judges who have assisted the incumbent President, Mr. Ramaphosa, to hide from society what on the face of it seem to be bribes obtained in order to win an internal ANC election. We sit with some judges who sealed those records simply because it will reveal that some of them, while serving in our courts, have had their hands filled with 30 pieces of silver,” Zuma said at the time.

Further referring to the former president’s comments, Ngcukaitobi said they were completely unfounded.

“Zuma is not here to defend his freedom of speech. We cannot make ad hominem attacks on people who are doing their work honestly and diligently. (This is a) deliberate campaign to discredit the court”

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi

The State Capture Commission wants him sentenced to two years behind bars for defying an order by the Constitutional Court, compelling him to appear.