Zondo and I were friends and met at Durban official residence, Zuma says in new affidavit

The back and forth between Mabuza Attorneys, who are representing former president Jacob Zuma at the Zondo Commission, and the Deputy Chief Justice has reached another level. Zuma is seeking to have Zondo recused, because he believes he will not receive a fair hearing on state capture. This time, Zuma has hit back at the Chairperson’s statement which he read on Monday morning. Judge Ray Zondo said he and the former statesman were not friends and had never socialised beyond meeting at government functions and the opening of parliament. In a new affidavit, the veteran ANC leader claims the two were indeed friends and shared conversations at his Forest Town house in Johannesburg and at his official residence in Durban. Zondo will make a ruling on the recusal application on Thursday morning – Bernice Maune. 

By Bernice Maune 

Zuma has slammed the statement made by Judge Ray Zondo that he had not been to his presidential or official residences, stating that they met soon after he was appointed deputy chief justice. The meeting took place at Zuma’s official residence in Durban.

“I have noted the Chairperson while accepting that our relationship was cordial and pleasant, disputes that we were friends. I state in paragraph 2 of my founding affidavit that ‘we continued to relate as friends and continue to meet at social and government functions’.”

We discussed, amongst other things, how our friendship, if not managed properly, could jeopardise his judicial ambitions or rise within the ranks of the judiciary

“I persist with this assertion, In fact, in our discussion at my residence in Forest Town to which I refer in paragraph 29 of my founding affidavit, we discussed, amongst other things, how our friendship, if not managed properly, could jeopardise his judicial ambitions or rise within the ranks of the judiciary.”

Zuma further claims Zondo’s statement that he could not have had an influence on his career as false. The former statesman says he was part of serious discussions within the ANC and together with the late Nelson Mandela, and he alludes to contributing on which black legal practitioners should be appointed to top positions within the judiciary.

“I understand that in referring to me as ‘only an MEC’ the Chairperson is attempting to downplay my role in order to demonstrate that he couldn’t have relied on me for ascendancy. It is common cause that at the time I was also the National Chairperson of the ANC and Provincial Chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu Natal. These were indeed positions of influence within the ruling party. Accordingly, his attempt to communicate that I was significant in the national political arena is untrue,” reads Zuma’s affidavit.

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