Zuma Foundation tells Zondo to stop 'playing to the media gallery'

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  • The Jacob Zuma Foundation, in a lengthy statement, hit back at the Zondo commission.
  • Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo issued non-negotiable dates for the former president to appear before the commission.
  • The foundation accuses Zondo of playing to the gallery.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation says Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo should not allow his "personal issues" with former president Jacob Zuma to blind his judgment.

"We call upon the chairperson not to allow his personal issues with [former] president Zuma to blind his judgment. We call upon the chairperson not to play to the media gallery as such conduct belongs outside the judiciary.

"It is inappropriate for the judiciary to use the media to tarnish the reputation of parties in legal proceedings just to seek favour with the media at the expense of the process and other witnesses," the foundation said in a lengthy statement on Wednesday.

READ: Zondo gives Jacob Zuma new 'non-negotiable' dates to appear before state capture inquiry

The statement comes just a few days after the chairperson of the inquiry into state capture, Zondo, gave Zuma new "non-negotiable" dates to appear before the commission.

The dates are 16-20 November 2020. 

An application by the commission's legal team will be heard on 9 October.

The application seeks to get an order authorising the issuing of summons.

Zondo addressed the matter on Monday, prior to proceedings relating to the R1 billion Free State housing scheme.

The foundation was of the view that Zondo could have waited for Zuma's legal representatives to respond to his instructions, which only came on Friday before his "hastened media briefing" on Monday.

"[Former] president Zuma has always indicated that, despite his misgivings about the legality of the commission, he respects it and would cooperate. However, it appears that the chairperson is determined to prejudice him, to humiliate him."

The statement further reads: 

It is clear for all to see that the chairperson has made up his mind that he will treat [former] president Zuma harshly in order to secure for himself a future career in the highest office in the judiciary.

In addition, the foundation felt that the address by Zondo - prior to proceedings - was designed to humiliate Zuma and his attorneys.

"His attacks on [former] president Zuma and his legal representatives were absolutely unjustified and prejudicial. The chairperson lacks this courage when faced with the open defiance by certain people, who have refused to appear before the commission.

"He has not called a press conference to respond to Minister Pravin Jamnandas Gordhan when he failed even to file an affidavit to explain his non-appearance. This inconsistency and fear of the powerful is not expected from the man who occupies the second highest office in the judiciary," the foundation stated.

Gordhan had last month failed to appear for his cross-examination before the commission, citing Cabinet commitments.

Fin24 reported that Zondo appeared irritated at the time, stating that maybe the solution was to make sure summons were issued because "there are just too many instances where people say they can't appear". 

The foundation further called on Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to "remind" Zondo that he was not above the law, and was accountable to the Constitution and not to those who "seek to peddle the theory of state capture that only serves to punish certain people while protecting those who are for now powerful".

"This commission is very important for the country and the chairperson, through his monologues and attempts at pleasing certain sections of our society, is contaminating it and may end up compromising the entire process and the public funds that have been spent on him and the commission," the foundation concluded.

News24 reached out to the Zondo commission for comment.

It will be added once received.

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