Zuma vs Zondo: Judgment on former president's recusal bid to be delivered on Wednesday

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Former president Jacob Zuma at the Zondo Commission.
Former president Jacob Zuma at the Zondo Commission.
Sharon Seretlo, Gallo Images
  • Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo says a decision on the recusal application will be announced on Wednesday. 
  • Former president Jacob Zuma is demanding that Zondo recuse himself. 
  • Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane for Zuma, said if they were to lose the application, they would review it or Zuma would exercise his right to say nothing. 

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the state capture inquiry, has adjourned proceedings for the day, saying he will deliver judgment on a recusal application brought by former president Jacob Zuma on Wednesday.

"I am not going to give [a] ruling or judgment this morning, because I am still working on it," Zondo said.

"I've got quite some documentation to go through carefully. I am going to use today to work on that judgment. So, we are going to adjourn and resume tomorrow at 10:00, by which time I hope to deliver my ruling/judgment on the recusal application."

On Monday, the commission heard Zuma's application demanding that Zondo recuse himself.

Zuma's advocate, Muzi Sikhakhane, argued that the commission had bought into a narrative that Zuma "messed up our country" by hearing testimony from "sweetheart witnesses" like Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, and former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan, "spewing all sorts of things from their moral high ground", News24 reported.

READ | Establishment of state capture inquiry was 'politically motivated' - Jacob Zuma's lawyer

He added Zondo's comments during the testimony meant "political witnesses" latched on to those positions.

Deference

"Those witnesses were treated with a certain deference," Sikhakhane said, adding that that indicated a "mind that is inclined to agree with a particular type of witness".

And this, he said, led Zuma to view the commission as "the grave to bury him".

He also told Zondo that if they lost the application, they would review it, and if he was forced to bring Zuma to the stand, the former president would exercise his right to say nothing.

Meanwhile, the commission's evidence leader, advocate Paul Pretorius SC, said Zondo's recusal would collapse the commission.

Not friends

He also said there was no indication of actual bias placed on record and that Zondo was obliged to do everything in his power to ensure Zuma appeared before the commission.

ALSO READ |  State capture inquiry: Zuma will 'exercise right to say nothing' if Zondo doesn't recuse himself

Pretorius also said so far, the former president had not provided his full cooperation.

On Monday, at the start of proceedings, the deputy chief justice read a statement into the record in which he acknowledged that he had known Zuma since the early 1990s and that they were cordial, but said they were not friends.

However, on Tuesday, Sikhakhane said they would put on record a statement that dealt with Zondo's statement. 

He also said Zuma would not be at the commission on Wednesday because "he has a funeral to attend".


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