Former president Jacob Zuma’s cat and mouse games with state capture commission of inquiry chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has taken another turn.
This time Zuma’s foundation, has not in so many words, accused Zondo of plotting with renowned lawyer, Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi.
The foundation said on Friday it was challenging Zondo’s dismissal of a recusal application by Zuma, and questioned the presence of Ngcukaitobi in Zondo’s chambers during Thursday’s proceedings.
“We are also gravely concerned at the reports that when Zuma’s legal team went to see the chairperson in chambers, they found the chairperson with Ngcukaitobi SC, whose role in the chairperson’s chambers was not explained. It is disturbing that the chairperson allowed such irregularities to occur in this matter,” read the statement.
The foundation also accused Zondo of getting legal counsel from Ngcukaitobi, saying this was irregular given that the advocate also represented other witnesses who have appeared before the commission.
As a result, the foundation has called on Zuma’s supporters to band together and stand against this “injustice”.
“We call on all supporters of Zuma as he faces criminal proceedings being plotted by the evidence leaders, and the chairperson irregularly assisted by Ngcukaitobi SC,” read the statement.
On Thursday Zuma and his legal team walked out of the commission without permission after Zondo dismissed the former president’s application for him to recuse himself from the commission.
The foundation also slammed Zondo for refusing to recuse himself, saying he had made numerous legal mistakes.
“The JG Zuma Foundation expresses its disappointment that the chairperson of the Zondo commission missed the opportunity offered to him by Zuma’s counsel during oral submissions on November 16.
“Equally disturbing is the fact that the chairperson failed to realise that as soon as his unusual statement was contradicted, he could not be the arbiter of his own dispute.”
Both Zuma’s legal team and the foundation essentially accused Zondo of being both a witness and judge in a matter that involves him.
Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, the lead lawyer, has already indicated that Zuma would be approaching the Judicial Services Commission to lay a complaint against Zondo.
The foundation said it supports Zuma’s stance to leave the commission notwithstanding a summons issued by Zondo compelling him to attend proceedings until Friday.
“We stand by Zuma and commend him for his firm stance of walking away from the commission. It is indeed a comedy of errors, floundering from one error to the next.
“We commend president Zuma for risking it all in order not to legitimise an irregular process disguised as a legitimate commission.”
The foundation added that Zuma and his team had taken “a brave stance because they were not prepared to be bullied and elected to terminate their participation regardless of the risk of contempt proceedings”.
“Zuma assures us that he would rather face jail than allow himself to be bullied by an irregular, manipulated and unlawful process,” read the statement.
The foundation also echoed Zuma’s claims that there were political forces pulling the strings and Zondo was a pawn in a larger political game.
“We hope that the chairperson is aware that those pulling the strings behind the scenes do not have his interests at heart and will drop him as quickly as they picked him.”
Zondo was appointed by Zuma to chair the commission.
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