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Former president Jacob Zuma is back at the state capture commission of inquiry following an impasse between his legal team and that of the commission.
Watch it live:
The commission won't continue today so that this process can take place.
Zondo thanks each legal teams for the "constructive" discussions in chambers.
He also wants to thank Zuma for "agreeing to give the processes of the commission a chance" and for agreeing to "continue to cooperate".
Zondo says the commission's legal team will indicate to Zuma's legal team, what the commission's area's of interest are in each witness statement it would like the former president to give evidence on. #StateCaptureInquiry— State Capture Commission (@StateCaptureCom) July 19, 2019
Zondo says the commission's legal team will indicate to Zuma's legal team, what the commission's area's of interest are in each witness statement it would like the former president to give evidence on. #StateCaptureInquiry
The commission's legal team will now indicate to Zuma which are its areas of interest in each witness statement. This is part of the agreement reached between the parties.
The commission resumes.
Zondo says there was a "very fruitful" discussion was held in chambers between the teams, characterised by professionalism.
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His threats have ignited a painful debate inside the ANC. Ace Magashule, the party’s secretary-general, attended Tuesday’s sitting looking to show support and seemingly trying to ascertain just how much incendiary material the former party leader has in his arsenal. Talk inside Luthuli House was that the commission is turning into a liability for the governing party and that if left unchecked could see Zuma do enormous harm to the organisation.
Pretorius just wants to clarify that the letter referred to by Sikhakhane that was sent on Wednesday was merely pointing out that Zuma had not responded to their notice that he had been implicated by Agrizzi.
The commission adjourns for an extended tea break.
The legal teams are to meet Zondo in his chambers.
Zondo repeats that he was encouraged by the spirit of cooperation between the parties on Wednesday and says he is confident that a way forward can be found.
Sikhakhane says he trusts the chairperson's bona fides and this is why Zuma wanted to come here.
Pretorius wants to respond.
Sikhakhane says to Zondo, "Your team is incompetent in how it raises things (with) us."
Applause from the audience.
Zondo reminds the attendees that applause is not allowed.
Sikhakhane withdraws the word "incompetent" and says the team is rather "inefficient".
Sikhakhane says they are not criticising Zondo or his bona fides.
But he feels that Zuma's rights were not respected by Pretorius.
Sikhakhane says the team approaches Zondo's "genuine" attempts to find ways to move forward. But he is angry about Pretorius.
Sikhakhane says Pretorius gave a "patronising lecture" on what cross-examination is.
Zuma says he was encouraged by the spirit of cooperation and courtesy by the legal teams and this made him feel confident that a solution would be found to Zuma's concerns.
Zondo wants a session in chambers with both sides.
Zondo said he had the power to summons the former president. But Zuma had promised to cooperate with the commission. He was given this assurance by Zuma's legal team, so there was no reason for a summons.
A letter was written to Zuma to ask for an undertaking that he would come to the commission.
He reiterates that it was his decision alone not to compel Zuma to come.
Zondo says that events have been reported incorrectly in the media, and this is why he is repeating what happened with the questions.
The lever arch files were simply a precaution to ensure that he could not say he had not received all the statements. They were all sent to him ahead of time.
Zondo says it was made clear to Zuma that the evidence to be put to him would be from specific witnesses. Those statements were sent to him. (Later it was discovered that one or two, by mistake, had not been sent.) All statements were put in lever arch files and sent to him.
There would have been at least two weeks before his appearance to look at all the statements.
It was acknowledged this week that the files were receives by Zuma's attorneys, Zondo says.
Zondo says the decision to ask the former president to appear at the commission, "was my decision, and my decision alone."
"I therefore don't want Mr Pretorius or the commission's legal team to be criticised for the decision that I made. I believe it was the correct decision - I still believe it is the correct decision.
In this room, I am the only person who ultimately must make decisions... I and I alone must make those decisions. I believe that as far as is practicable, I must hear all sides. And it is in that context that I made a decision, that I'd like to hear the former president's side of the story."
COMMENT: Zondo is clearly disappointed by the way things have turned out. He is also visibly irritated that he did not know that talks between the teams had broken down by yesterday evening. He has spend most of this week trying to keep Zuma on the stand by being accommodating, and did not want to have the former president here by subpoena.
- Sarah Evans
Secondly, Zondo says, when we adjourned on Wednesday, he said there were reasonable prospects that the teams could find common ground.
While there was no guarantee, he had confidence, Zondo said.
Zondo now responds.
"I'm disappointed that yesterday a situation was allowed to happen where I went to bed without knowing how the discussions between the commission's legal team and the former president's legal teams were going.
I had indicated to both teams in chambers that I would need to be informed and I had in mind that, if by a certain time, and I took the view that there were challenges in reaching agreements, and there may have been room for me to contribute to the resolution of the impasse, I would have considered meeting with both teams."
Pretorius says there might be questions about what cross-examination means.
He says that cross-examination typically happens after a witness has been led in their evidence in chief by another party. It can include a variety of questions.
But it is primarily used to secure evidence in support of a case or challenge evidence in support of that case.
That is not what is going on here, Pretorius says.
The evidence leaders must determine whether a witness is being truthful, he adds.
"In short, we have complied by the rules."
Pretorius says that the commission is not proving a case, but investigating in an inquisitorial manner, and the Commission must investigate. Questions must, therefore, be asked to seek to establish the truth and assist the Chairperson.#StateCaptureInquiry— State Capture Commission (@StateCaptureCom) July 19, 2019
Pretorius says that the commission is not proving a case, but investigating in an inquisitorial manner, and the Commission must investigate. Questions must, therefore, be asked to seek to establish the truth and assist the Chairperson.#StateCaptureInquiry
Pretorius denies that the commission's legal team have breached the rules.
If anyone feels that this is true they can appeal to the chairperson and he can make a determination, Pretorius says.
Pretorius says they cannot deviate from the rules as none of the questions that have been posed to Zuma have gone beyond the rules and what is supposed to happened. He says whether they are difficult is what it is.#StateCaptureInquiry— State Capture Commission (@StateCaptureCom) July 19, 2019
Pretorius says they cannot deviate from the rules as none of the questions that have been posed to Zuma have gone beyond the rules and what is supposed to happened. He says whether they are difficult is what it is.#StateCaptureInquiry
Zuma's legal team also said there had been a breach of the commission's rules.
Pretorius says they cannot just decide that the rules have been breached and then decide that they can act on this.
"That's not the way our law works," he says.
Pretorius now turns to the letter he received from Zuma's team yesterday.
Zuma was "subjected to relentless cross-examination", the team alleged.
Pretorius says he doesn't know what this refers to. The letter doesn't explain and no specific line of question is referenced.
Pretorius reads from the commission's rules:
"No person may refuse to answer questions (except in the case of legally priveleged information)".
The commission's legal team has a "duty" to carry out its powers.
"We cannot enter into any arrangement to favour - and this is what is being asked for - Mr Zuma is asked to be excused from the rules."
Evidence leader Adv Paul Pretorius now response.
He wants to clarify things.
When Zuma was invited to the commission, the reasons were "detailed". There was no lack of clarity on the topics of discussion and the implications thereof, says Pretorius.
It was also clear that the commission was not using its powers to compel a witnesses to get Zuma to appear.
But whether a witness comes to the commission voluntarily or not, "certain obligations arise", Pretorius says.
#StateCaptureInquiry Sikhakhane says Zuma will take no further part in these proceedings, "he respected you (Zondo), he respected this commission but commission does not know its ground rules". @TeamNews24— Jeanette Chabalala (@J_chabalala) July 19, 2019
#StateCaptureInquiry Sikhakhane says Zuma will take no further part in these proceedings, "he respected you (Zondo), he respected this commission but commission does not know its ground rules". @TeamNews24
"The commission does not know its own ground rules..."
Sikhakhane says they are considering going to court.
"This commission does not know who is guilty. It is trying to find out," Sikhakhane says. He says the commission must ignore what people say outside the commission.
Witnesses must not be "persecuted" in the way that they are "outside", he says.
Sikhakhane says that the team received a letter on Wednesday while the teams were trying to reach an agreement.
"Dear Mr Zuma..." the letter informs Zuma that he was implicated in the testimony of Angelo Agrizzi.
"We require to meet with you... with the purpose of obtaining your written explanation in a statement form in response to the allegations against you," said the commission's legal team.
Zuma was on the stand at the time.
Sikhakhane says the commissions legal team does not want to make any concessions despite the complaints that have been laid.#StateCaptureInquiry— State Capture Commission (@StateCaptureCom) July 19, 2019
Sikhakhane says the commissions legal team does not want to make any concessions despite the complaints that have been laid.#StateCaptureInquiry
Sikhakhane now turns to the nine witnesses whom Zuma was expected to respond to.
He wants to talk about Angelo Agrizzi.
Sikhakhane says Zuma was treated, from the beginning, as an accused person at the commission.
#StateCaptureInquiry Sikhakhane asserts that the "left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing" when it comes to the @StateCaptureCom. He cites the letter he has described as "cheeky" and Zondo appears sombre and concerned, as he listens.— Erin Bates (@ermbates) July 19, 2019
#StateCaptureInquiry Sikhakhane asserts that the "left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing" when it comes to the @StateCaptureCom. He cites the letter he has described as "cheeky" and Zondo appears sombre and concerned, as he listens.
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