Former President Jacob Zuma made headlines recently when he asked Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to recuse himself from hearing his testimony at the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of State Capture.
The Commission was established following the recommendations of the then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her State Capture report in 2016, as well as the orders by the judgment of the North Gauteng High Court in 2017.
Madonsela called for a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate Zuma’s dealings with the Gupta family, while the court ordered that, among other things, the remedial action of the Public Protector is binding and that the President is directed to appoint a commission of inquiry within 30 days, headed by a judge selected by the Chief Justice.
In 2018, Zuma as Head of State announced the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry, which he said Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng selected Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to head the commission.
SABC News looks at what Zuma said so far at the commission and highlights of his previous testimonies:
September 12, 2018
While addressing the South African Students Congress members at the Walter Sisulu University auditorium in Mthatha in 2018, Zuma said there is no state that is captured and that state capture is a politically motivated expression.
July 15, 2019
During Zuma’s first day of testimony at the commission, he requested to tell his side of the story, where he said that he is vilified and has been accused of being corrupt.
“I have realised that me as an individual, I have been a subject of talk in this country for more than a decade, I have been vilified, alleged to be the king of corrupt people, I’m the most corrupt, I have been given every other name and I have never responded to those other issues. Firstly, because I believe it is important that we all respect one another, that we must say things that we know about other people, not tell things that we cannot prove.”
After appearing at the commission, Zuma addressed his supporters outside the State Capture Inquiry venue, where he said he noticed his name was mentioned during the commission.
“When I listened to the evidence that was talking about me, I didn’t think there was anything that needs to make you clarify because whilst in the minds of many when this commission was established was to fight fault within me.”
July 16, 2019
At his second appearance at the commission, Zuma responded to testimony from former Government Communication and Information Systems CEO Themba Maseko that late former Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane had approached him in late January 2011 and informed him that the President wanted him fired from his position because he refused for failure to cooperate with the Guptas with respect to the GCIS’s R600 million advertising budget.
Zuma denies this claim. “Let me assume I wanted Maseko out, I would wait until I leave the country and when I’m very far away then call, it’s quite funny. I’m not running a Department, why would I have not talked to Minister Chabane when I was here, should I wait until I go, it’s a little bit fishy…At times people use the names of the President.”
July 17, 2019
On the third of Zuma’s testimony at Advocate Paul Hoffman asked Zuma whether deployment exists and how it is utilised as a manner of influence in selection of board members and senior executives of SOEs. This comes after former minister of Public Enterprises, Barbara Hogan raised the issue of deployment during her testimony.
“Yes there is a deployment committee in the ANC, the ANC took a decision that given the fact that it was the ruling party, it is given that positions because it has won elections, in other words people feel that the ANC can lead them better, On the basis of its policies, now the ANC has an interest once it has put its government because the government would come as a result of the ANC.”
Last week, Zuma lodged an application asking for the recusal of Zondo as the chair of the Commission.
This come after days before the Commission served Zuma with summons to appear on November 16-20.
Zuma’s lawyer’s letter to the commission states that Zuma believes that there is a level of bias against him and a lack of impartiality.
It further states that Zuma is “of the firm view” that Zondo’s alleged bias against him stems from “personal matters and strained relations that the chairperson ought to have disclosed right at the beginning of the inquiry”
On Monday, the Commission heard an application for the recusal of the Chairperson of the Commission by Zuma.
Zuma’s lawyer Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane says he is concerned with some of the comments that Zondo made, which have the potential of frightening a witness.
“There has been times when I thought that the DCJ has crossed the line, not out of bias but the line of how to express outrage when you hear it as a presiding officer…What I have a problem with this court is that I have to climb the mountain of the presumption of impartiality and I accept that is a mountain that I have to climb for any recusal application and it goes like this, I supposed to presume that you are impartial, it doesn’t matter what you do and that presumption is important and that is why I started where I started.”
Zondo will not be handing down his ruling on Wednesday as to whether he will recuse himself from hearing Zuma’s testimony.
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