Jacob Zuma received a letter from Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s State Capture Commission on Tuesday warning the former president to show up to court or face criminal prosecution.

The letter explains that Zuma, who is currently awaiting a ruling from the Constitutional Court over his right to silence, must nonetheless answer questions about his nine years in office.

Zuma’s attorney, Eric Mabuza, confirmed that he had received the letter written by commission secretary Itumeleng Mosala.

“The commission wishes to make it clear to you that, even if the court has not handed down its judgment by 18 January, you are obliged to comply with the summons and appear before it, as the summons remains valid and binding on you since it has not been withdrawn, set aside or suspended,” said the letter. 

“Therefore, the commission wishes to make it clear to you that any failure on your part, without sufficient cause, to appear before it from 18 to 22 January 2021 will constitute a criminal offence.”

Last year, Zondo issued a summons directing Zuma to appear before the commission from 18 January to 22 January 2021 and from 15 February to 19 February 2021.

Mabuza said he could not comment further on the letter he said he received on Tuesday.

It remains unclear whether Zuma will wait for the Constitutional Court’s ruling before he decides whether to testify in front of Zondo’s commission.