Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa has broken his silence on the issue of former president Jacob Zuma, who said this week he intended to defy the Constitutional Court by no longer taking part in proceedings at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
The Constitutional Court has ordered Zuma to comply with the commission and to answer questions directed at him. The court also said he had no right to remain silent.
A defiant Zuma said he did not fear being arrested for his stance as he had previously been imprisoned for standing by his principles.
Ramaphosa, who addressed journalists outside the home of the late Mama Rebecca Kotane, pleaded with Zuma to reflect on his decision.
“He has expressed his own thoughts and views. This is a matter I am sure he is going to give more thought to because he is being counselled by various people from different organisations.
“These are issues he must give consideration to in his own mind, in his own time, let us give former president Zuma time and space to think about this.
“I am prepared to leave it there, of course we have not discussed this matter in the ANC, which we will do. Anybody who says much more, will be missing the point.”
He said calls for Zuma to have his ANC membership suspended were pre-emptive and said that was not a matter currently being considered by the ANC.
“That is not something in consideration. All of us need time to think. We need to think carefully and deeply before coming to a rushed conclusion, which has no bearing,” said Ramaphosa.
On Friday afternoon, EFF leader Julius Malema touched down in Nkandla in a helicopter ahead of a meeting over tea with the former president.
The meeting between the two has sparked debate, as it was the first time Zuma and Malema would be meeting cordially, since their relationship soured about a decade ago while Malema was ANC Youth League president and Zuma state and ANC president.
Malema shot into the public eye as a close Zuma ally, who once said he dared to “kill for Zuma”, but that would change quickly after he was booted out of the ANC. Later, Malema and the EFF rocked Parliament with chants of “Zuma Must Go” and “Pay Back The Money”, directed at Zuma in a bid to get him booted out of the Union Buildings.
Malema initiated the meeting on Twitter two days ago. It is believed, but yet to be confirmed, that this week he has descended on Nkandla to urge Zuma to comply with the Constitutional Court and appear before Zondo as scheduled, between February 15 to February 19.
Malema was accompanied by former EFF chairperson advocate Dali Mpofu, spokesperson Vuyani Pambo and Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina, who was used as a conduit between Malema and Zuma.
Pressed on the meeting between Malema and Zuma, Ramaphosa said they were exercising their prerogative.
“Anybody is entitled to have tea with anyone,” he said.