Zuma Disappears Just Before Giving Evidence at the State Capture Commission…

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has ruled that the application for his recusal brought by former president Jacob Zuma does not have any factual or legal basis and that it is dismissed. This, after the former president was issued with a summons in September 2020 compelling him to appear before the commission on 16-20 November 2020 and give evidence under oath after repeated attempts since July 2019 to get him to submit affidavits to rebut evidence presented by a number of witnesses at the commission implicating Zuma in the state capture project. The Gupta brothers have been at the center of the state capture inquiry. They have since skipped the borders of the country leaving Zuma to answer to all their dirty work as head of state when they went on a rampage.

Former President Jacob Zuma at the State Capture Commission.

During September 2020, when Zuma failed to submit affidavits and to appear in person, evidence leaders at the commission successfully applied for a summons to be authorised against Zuma to compel him to appear on 16-20 November 2020. Upon learning of the summons, Zuma had no plans to testify before the commission and he decided to bring an application for the recusal of the chairperson of the commission citing several grounds including that the chairperson is biased against him and that he does not believe that he will get a fair hearing from the commission. He also cited a close relationship between him and the chairperson that would cloud the chairperson’s judgment. He further stated that the whole commission was designed to deal with him as they accuse him of being responsible for the capture of the state. This, he says, could be seen in the manner that the commission calls its witnesses as only witnesses who had issues against him are called.

The Gupta Brothers, at the root of the State Capture Project.

The commission found that the reasons advanced by Mr Zuma’s legal team have no merits and that the application for recusal falls to be dismissed and is accordingly dismissed. Upon hearing of this decision, Zuma’s legal team informed the commission that they intend to withdraw from the commission and not testify as they intend to take the decision on review to the high court as they are not satisfied with the decision and also to lodge a complaint with the judicial service commission as judge Zondo should not have sat as a judge in a matter that involves him, namely the personal relationship between him and Zuma.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – Adv Paul Pretorius, evidence leader at the Commission.

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The commission went on a 15 minute tea break and when it resumed, former president Jacob Zuma had disappeared from the venue without being excused and never to return to the commission. The commission was forced to adjourn early as the remaining two days were reserved for him to testify. Deputy Chief Justice Raymond will now have to decide what the next course of action will be while Zuma’s lawyers also decide on their application for review. There are two courses of action open to the Deputy Chief Justice. The whole exercise of bringing Zuma to the commission was to give him an opportunity to respond to the adverse evidence leveled against him. If Mr Zuma chooses not to dispute it, then the chairperson will be entitled to accept it as true and correct and make his findings the basis that Mr Zuma is not disputing the evidence against him. Alternatively, he may decide that it is important that Mr Zuma should testify so that he can get the complete story about the state capture. In which event the commission would seek the assistance of the police by way of a warrant of arrest, to compel him to appear. The latter position may be undesirable if the commission would be able to conclude its work without Mr Zuma’s evidence and without resorting to the use of force to compel him to testify bearing in mind that the commission is not a criminal court. It will be up to the Hawks and the NPA to make out what to do with the Zondo reports.

Adv Muzi Sikhakhane representing former President Jacob Zuma at the commission.

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