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By Bernice Maune
A letter accusing Judge Ray Zondo of bias and asking him to recuse himself from the state capture commission when former president Jacob Zuma appears has been met with stony silence.
In the letter, sent by Mabuza Attorneys, the lawyers state that Zuma and Zondo have a personal history which should have been disclosed by the deputy chief justice. The former statesman believes the commission will be used as a means to settle old political scores between the two, the letter states.
Zuma also claims;
- Zondo has intentionally sought to paint him as belligerent and unco-operative despite him agreeing to appear on several occasions
- Other witnesses have not been subject to media conferences discussing their non-attendance while Zuma was addressed in such a manner.
- The dates set aside for the summons and Zuma’s appearance have been cast in stone and it appears Zondo is not willing to compromise
- Zondo is not impartial and has adopted a biased agenda
- Witnesses who are perceived as aligned to Zuma are treated with deference. “It is apparent to President Zuma the commission seeks to entrench a narrative that portrays him as guilty at all costs.”
- Prejudicial statements about Zuma have been made by the commission, indicating Zondo’s intent to judge Zuma without all the facts, the lawyers allege.
“President Zuma has always expressed his willingness to co-operate with the Commission. This in spite of his reservations about the legality of the Commission and in particular, your suitability as Chairperson, given your personal relations with him.
“President Zuma believes the Chairperson’s conduct has stripped this commission of its required and vaunted legitimacy.
Zondo has yet to respond to the letter.
Read the full letter below:
— Dudu Zuma-Sambudla (@DZumaSambudla) September 28, 2020
During a press conference last week, Zondo told the public and media he would not negotiate with Zuma and his lawyers over appearance dates. He set the date for Zuma to attend for 16 to 20 November.
“Previously, I determined that today up to Friday, Zuma would appear before this commission. He was notified thereof and after some time his attorneys wrote to the commission and said that he would not be appearing before this commission. The reasons they gave include that he was busy preparing for his criminal trial – that his doctors have advised him to limit his movements because of his age and Covid-19 and that he was seeking legal advice of the implications of the recent amendments to the regulations of this commission. I do not want to comment on this stage of his reasons for deciding that he would not appear.”
“Unless I am satisfied on that date that there are good grounds for them to not appear, that application will proceed without them. Should they wish to make use, arrangements will be made for them to appear virtually,” added Zondo.
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