Secretary of the State Capture Commission v Zuma I

Secretary of the State Capture Commission v Zuma I

The Secretary of the State Capture Commission (“the Applicant”) brought an urgent application directly to the Constitutional Court seeking various declaratory and mandatory orders. These orders are aimed at ensuring that Mr. Zuma, the former President of the Republic of South Africa 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 Applicant seeks to highlight 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 brought an application for admission as amicus curiae in order to make 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 enshrinement 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 also seeks to 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 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.