Zuma v Zondo: Former president says he'd rather face jail than be 'bullied' by commission

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Former president Jacob Zuma appears at the Zondo commission.
Former president Jacob Zuma appears at the Zondo commission.
PHOTO: Sharon Seretlo, Gallo Images
  • Former president Jacob Zuma is ready to face jail rather than be "bullied" by the Zondo commission.
  • The Jacob Zuma Foundation has also commended the former president for walking out of the commission on Thursday.
  • The foundation said it was gravely concerned at the reports that when Zuma's legal team went to see Zondo in chambers, they found Zondo with advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC.

Former president Jacob Zuma is ready to face jail rather than be "bullied" by the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

The Jacob Zuma Foundation has also commended the former president for walking out of the commission during a tea break on Thursday.

Zuma wanted Zondo to recuse himself from the commission before he could appear, claiming that he and the deputy chief justice were friends, and that Zondo had fathered a child with a sister of one of his friends.

READ | Zuma leaves state capture inquiry despite summons

Zuma's lawyer, advocate Muzi Sikhakane SC, told Zondo that he would be biased against him and that Zondo was a witness and a judge in a dispute that involved Zondo.

Sikhakhane threatened to escalate their complaints to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

Zondo denied that there was a friendship or relationship between him and Zuma that would force him to recuse himself from the commission.

The foundation said on Friday that it stood by the former president, who staged a walkout after Zondo refused to recuse himself from chairing the commission.

Zondo made the ruling on Thursday following Sikhakhane's legal plea to have the chairperson recuse himself.

In a statement issued by the foundation, it said it was disturbed that Zondo failed to "realise that as soon as his unusual statement was contradicted, he could not be the arbiter of his own dispute".

'Gravely concerned'

"We are gravely concerned at the reports that when Zuma's legal team went to see Zondo in chambers, they found Zondo with (advocate Tembeka) Ngcukaitobi SC, whose role in the chambers was not explained. It is disturbing that the chairperson allowed such irregularities to occur in this matter.

"We stand with Zuma and commend him for his firm stance in walking away from the commission.

"We commend Zuma for risking it all in order not to legitimise an irregular process disguised as a legitimate commission," the foundation said.

The foundation said Zuma faces criminal proceedings that are plotted by evidence leaders: Zondo assisted by Ngcukaitobi.

"We know that Zuma and his team took this brave stance because they were not prepared to be bullied and elected to terminate their participation regardless of the risk of contempt proceedings.

The foundation said:

Zuma assures us that he would rather face jail than allow himself to be bullied by an irregular, manipulated and unlawful process. We hope Zondo is aware that those pulling the strings behind the scenes do not have interest [sic] at heart and will drop him as quickly as they picked him.

The foundation continued, saying that Sikhakhane repeatedly implored the commission to be responsible, but all those attempts were in vain as, "forces behind the scenes were prepared to risk it all, including the integrity of the chairperson to achieve their nefarious goals".

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