Former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, says former president Jacob Zuma was treated fairly throughout his court processes, but decided to act arrogantly hoping that the law will be on his side.
The remark follows Zuma’s claims that the country’s judiciary is against him. He has publicly criticised the judges, saying they want to see him languishing in jail. Zuma handed himself to the Correctional Facilities on Wednesday night to serve his 15-month prison for disobeying a Constitutional Court order.
Madonsela says Zuma was given many chances to present his case, but ignored the processes.
“The Constitutional Court itself treated him fairly to the point of even when he totally disregarded its process. The Constitutional Court wrote to former President Zuma to ask his comments on possible sentencing. He once more treated it with utmost contempt. I don’t think he has been treated differently from anyone from other people and negatively,” says the former Public Protector.
Former DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, says he is far more sympathetic to the millions of South African’s who had to suffer because of maladministration rather than Zuma serving a jail term.
“I think that many people feel sympathetic to see Mr. Zuma go to jail. I’m much more sympathetic towards the people who are suffering as a result of mismanagement of our country. Are suffering as a result of corruption, without jobs, healthcare and ultimately sitting here today without education, thanks to the administration that he led. so to me, it’s not just a question of justice, it’s about affirming that South Africa has a future of constitutional democracy,” says the leader of One Movement South Africa
Dipak Patel from the Defend our Democracy Campaign says it is a sad day in the history of South Africa to see a former statesman imprisoned, but hopes that Zuma supporters will let the law take its course.
“We cannot have perpetual indemnity nor impunity in the face of a legal system and a democracy that we have fought very hard for and won through bloodshed. As for other organisations and bunches of people that try to utilise this very sad event in our country’s history to ferment disunity, conflict and in fact threaten a further erosion of law and order, we will encourage the law enforcement to act against anyone who provokes conflict and in fact protests in a way that is out of step with constitutionalism and with the legal system in our country,” says Patel.
The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation says it’s about time Zuma faced the law, following years of evading the justice system.
“We think that it’s an important step to reaffirm that we are a constitutional democracy and in that democracy we should all be equal before the law, and for him justice meant that he didn’t really need to account for anything that he was being charged for hence the long evasion of his date in court and his latest attempts to evade accounting at the Zondo commission, which himself had created, and this latest episode of trying to get out of the judgement of the constitutional court. So this is really somebody that has evaded justice whilst pretending to want his day in court,” says the foundation’s executive director, Neeshan Balton.
Earlier, Anglican Archbishop of Southern Africa, Thabo Makgoba, described Zuma’s imprisonment as a time to teach citizens about the rule of law and the values of the Constitution.