013 7533187 / 060 497 2512

Christo Smith Law Blog

Zuma : now comes the real challenge

The latest shots in the Zuma-saga poses the ultimate challenge for the Government : does the President and his questionable band of brothers mean real business with corruption or are they bluffing? Zuma has openly scoffed at the rule of law, the Constitution and the judiciary by refusing to abide by the ruling of the Constitutional Court. If anything calls for serious action, this is it. If the Government and its various branches fail to act now, it will send a final message to the country : the former top dog’s unlawfulness is overlooked, so the puppies can run wild. Why would a criminal or potential thug have any respect for the law if those that are supposed to uphold the law when their former leader is involved in grave crimes, sit with folded arms? The little respect that remains for this country internationally, will also evaporate.

However, not only is Zuma’s behaviour relevant – his legal advisors are equally under scrutiny, or at least should be. This is what Prof Pierre de Vos writes concerning the actions or inactions of Zuma’s advocates :

“… from the conduct of Zuma and his legal team it is clear that the strategy had always been to try to delegitimise the Commission and its Chairperson in a high stakes game, and if that did not work, to try to delegitimise the evidence leaders of the Commission. Zuma’s legal team executed this strategy quite efficiently, consistently but falsely advancing the argument that Zuma was being unfairly treated by the Commission.
This raises the question whether Zuma’s legal team did not set out to diminish public confidence in the legal profession and the administration of justice in breach of their professional obligations. Is it really acceptable for an advocate to assist your client to disobey the law and act in direct breach of the rule of law? Does one not have a professional duty to steer your client away from such unlawful and reprehensible conduct?”
As a profession, the legal fraternity needs to seriously consider these ethical questions.
Zuma : now comes the real challenge