Former President Jacob Zuma’ s lawyers have questioned the line of questioning adopted by evidence leader for the commission, Adv Paul Pretorius. Former President Zuma always said that he would like to be given an opportunity to clear his name as he says that he has continually been targeted by the media on allegations of having allowed state institutions to be captured by the Guptas. Now that the former President has been given the platform, he should be utilising it to the full.
He has been implicated by a number of witnesses who testified before the commission. It is only fair that their vesions be put to him so that he can get an opportunity to put the correct version on record. Listening to the arguments by his advocates, one would get the impression that they are being overprotective of him and are afraid that the case might implicate him more. Withdrawing from further participation in the commission might also leave the evidence before the commission unchallenged and might lead the commission to make negative findings against him. But perhaps further participation might be even worse. But to say that the evidence leader should limit his questions will leave many questions unanswered.
In the meantime, Zuma’s supporters have vowed to stand by him during the inquiry. Carl Niehaus of the MK Veterans said that they will support Zuma and ensure that he is not treated unfairly by the commission, but that they are not against the work of the commission. It is a show down between those who blame state capture for South Africa’s economic woes and those who deny its existence. Developments that will be even more interesting in the weeks to come. President Ramaphosa has been placed in a very difficult position because his tough stand on corruption is alienating many of his erstwhile comrades. No doubt that his tough move has already stemmed the tide of corruption, particularly with the exit of the Guptas from the country and the expulsion of Bosasa from Correctional Services, but more support is needed for the mop up operations to clean municipalities, which is another frontier where the country was bleeding rands and cents.