State capture: We don’t negotiate with witnesses – Zondo tells Zuma, who has failed to appear

Zuma’s outstanding testimony at the State Capture Commission headed by Judge Ray Zondo could plug holes in the series of events which took place at state enterprises under his rule. The ex-president has appeared five times at the inquiry and on each occasion has denied his involvement in alleged corruption with the Gupta family. He has also said he has no recollection of key events, effectively refuting the testimonies of people who have implicated him. Additional orders to appear have been served on Zuma after former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi and advisor to ex-chairperson of SAA, Nick Linell, placed themselves at his residence in Nkandla. Ironically, it was Zuma who appointed the commission after being ordered by the courts to do so. At the time, he stated he had faith in the inquiry to do its job. However, Zuma has been unco-operative of late, telling Zondo he was advised to not move around by his doctors as he is at risk of contracting Covid-19. He also listed his upcoming criminal trial, in which he must account for 16 charges in a case which has dragged on since 2003. – Bernice Maune

ANC corruption
Standoff (Jacob Zuma). More of Zapiro’s brilliant work available at www.zapiro.com.

By Bernice Maune

At the beginning of the State Capture Commission, Zondo addressed the shifting of dates for Zuma’s appearance by his legal team. According to the judge, Zuma was expected to give his testimony this week. But, Zuma’s failure to attend has forced the commission to hear from officials involved in the R1 billion Free State housing project.

“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.”

Read also: Who is Suzanne Daniels, the woman exposing the Gupta, Zuma empire?

According to Zondo, the 9th of October had been set aside for a summons to be issued. Zuma would then appear on 16 to 20 November.

“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.

Zuma’s legal team has requested for different dates, but Zondo said there would be no negotiation.

“His attorneys said dates should be negotiated with them or with him, no dates will be negotiated with him or them. This commission has told him before that we do not negotiate dates with the witnesses.

“This commission fixes the dates then witnesses are supposed to appear and if they have good grounds for not appearing they make an application and show that they have good grounds, if I’m satisfied then other dates will be determined,” concluded Zondo.

Watch until the 6:45 minute mark where Judge Zondo admonishes Zuma and his legal team for failing to appear at the state capture commission.

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