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A Gauteng based lobby group, Radical Economic Transformation Now! founded by ANC MK veteran Carl Niehaus has released a statement on the Zondo Commission and its plan to summon former president Jacob Zuma.
Zondo told the public and media he would not negotiate dates for the former statesman to appear. Instead, he would hear why Zuma can’t appear and if the reasons did not satisfy him, he would compel him to attend on 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,” said Zondo.
In the statement, RET said it noted how some witnesses were treated with kid gloves and allowed to avoid showing up.
“There are several other witnesses where there have been for various reasons delays in them appearing before the commission, but the commission’s engagements with them have been and continue to be through direct confidential personal contact.
“Among the most notable example is Minister Pravin Gordhan who is set to appear before the commission for cross-examination but who has not done so to the point where it is appearing that he is defiant and arrogant in being unavailable.
“The minister seems to regard himself as being in the category of super citizen that is not answerable to anyone – unlike the rest of us South African citizens.”
The group questioned Zondo’s treatment of Gordhan, stating he showed a more respectful and understanding attitude towards him.
Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe – who was linked to the Guptas – and Lucky Montana, ex-chairperson of Transnet, have not appeared at the commission despite asking to do so, says the lobby group.
The full statement from Carl Niehaus and the Gauteng Zuma support group below
— Carl Niehaus (@niehaus_carl) September 22, 2020
This alluded to a bias from Zondo as he had not allowed the two to give their verbal evidence, the group proclaimed.
“There are other persons such as Brian Molefe and Arthur Fraser who have literally pleaded to appear before the commission but whom the commission has not seen necessary for them to appear…The only rush, and urgency, to get a very specific witness before it, seems to be singularly reserved for President Zuma,” said the Radical Economic Transformation group.
Reaction to Zondo’s statement on Twitter
You can't deny that this seems rather victimising Zuma, bcos there was no such "no-nonsense" approach when Gordhan "couldn't" attend.This type of inconsistent bias application of the rule of law is what makes good law abiding citizens want to revolt against the rule of law in SA.
— Lindie Langa (@AwaitedOne1) September 21, 2020
Mthiyane(Chair Zondo), you need to be consistent with your summons issues. Some witnesses don’t even get summoned, even though they cannot attend. This commission will soon lack credibility if it continues to target openly one witness. Ngokukhulu ukuhlonipha Sokhulu…
— Percy Ndaba (@percyndaba) September 21, 2020
Another delay tactic by Zuma. So glad that DCJ Zondo showed his strength by standing up to Zuma & his team! DCJ is under pressure but doing the right thing for South Africa! Kudo to him & Adv Pretorius is on fire again!
— Kerry O'B (@KerryvanSchalkw) September 21, 2020
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