Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has weighed in on the state capture inquiry’s request for Jacob Zuma to be jailed for contempt of court, saying the former president “will lose nothing” by appearing before the commission chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

The request comes after Zuma failed to show up at the inquiry last week, despite an order from the Constitutional Court to do so.

It said Zuma’s failure to appear before it and failure to file affidavits as directed by the court were some of the grounds on which he should be found guilty of contempt.

Zuma’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza, said the former president was awaiting the outcome of a review for Zondo to recuse himself as inquiry chairperson.

Taking to social media, Mbalula said Zuma stands to lose nothing by appearing before the inquiry.

He claimed Zuma’s supporters on social media were misleading him.

“Of course, the law is properly applied,” said Mbalula.

“Stop misleading Zuma for your own ends. SA is a constitutional state, stop testing the system. Niyamqhatha umsholozi [you guys are misleading him]. I rest my case.”

In his response to UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, Mbalula reiterated that the possible two years’ jail time could be avoided.

This is not the first time Mbalula has weighed in on Zuma’s refusal to appear before the inquiry.

Earlier this month, he shared a clip from a video of the former president announcing the establishment of the inquiry in January 2018.

“I urge everyone to co-operate with the commission of inquiry. I trust we will all respect the process and place no impediments to prevent the commission from doing its work,” Zuma said in the video.

Mbalula’s recent comments drew mixed reactions as many slammed the former Zuma ally for “flip-flopping”, while others agreed Zuma should appear.

Here is a snapshot of some of the reactions: