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There’s nowhere to hide for Jacob Zuma as Deputy Chief Justice Ray Zondo reiterated his intent to have the former statesman testify at the commission.
Zuma and Zondo are currently embroiled in a court battle, with the Judge approaching the Constitutional Court to issue a legal summons to force Zuma to appear to testify. On the other hand, Zuma has approached the Pretoria High court to have his recusal application heard.
Zondo dismissed Zuma’s recusal application last month on the basis it did not prove any bias on his part. During a media gathering, Zondo briefed the public on his stance regarding the embattled ANC leader.
“He is not keen to be heard because he does not believe there are any witnesses who have implicated him. In so far as the right to be heard is concerned, it is fine if he takes that attitude, but why we need [to call him] is more because the commission needs to put questions to him on various issues arising out of evidence given by various witnesses.
“If we did not have questions for him and he did not want to be heard, we would have left him alone, but there are witnesses who have given evidence that raise certain questions, and the Commission wishes to put those questions to him as to what his role might have been relating to certain things,” said Zondo.
According to the deputy chief justice, Zuma must appear because “he was the president of the country during most of the time during which most of the things that the commission is investigating are alleged to have happened, and there are witnesses who allege that he played certain roles.”
Zuma has been implicated by about 30 witnesses who have testified they met him at his Nkandla residence or had phonecalls with him, with instructions given by him in regards to state capture.
“It is important that he be questioned before any finding be made on whether he abused his powers as president.
“Because of the position he held, it is important that the commission gets an opportunity to question him and get answers from him. He is one of the people who are specifically mentioned in the terms of reference of the commission whose conduct this commission must investigate,” said Zondo.
In the past two years, the Commission has been held, it has heard and received evidence amounting to:
- 278 witnesses;
- 51,669 pages of recorded transcripts;
- 159,109 pages of affidavits and other evidence exhibits;
- 323 days of oral evidence hearings;
- 2,330 rule 33 notices; and
- 2,736 summons.
The Commission has also applied for a three-month extension as it lost out on three months as a result of Covid regulations and the lockdown.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to testify at the Zondo commission in 2021 as the inquiry seeks to conclude and present its findings.
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Watch Judge Ray Zondo brief the public on former president Jacob Zuma.
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