The chairperson of the commission of inquiry into state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, had a slip of the tongue during the inquiry’s proceedings earlier today when he referred to former president Jacob Zuma’s son as Duduzane Gupta, inducing laughter from the gallery.
Following revelations of alleged state capture by the controversial Gupta family and their close ties to the former president’s family, the term Zupta was coined by blending the surnames of the two families, Zuma and Gupta.
The commission Zondo is chairing has been mandated to probe allegations revealed in then public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report.
These allegations include that one of the Gupta brothers attempted to bribe then deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas, the Gupta family’s access to state-owned entities and former president Zuma’s possible breach of the Executive Ethics Code in the appointment of members of Cabinet.
Zondo’s lapsus linguae of referring to the young Zuma as Duduzane Gupta occurred while the commission was hearing an application by former public enterprises minister Lynne Brown’s legal team to cross-examine Jonas’s testimony that Brown, and former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, worked closely with the Guptas, enjoying the family’s protection.
Zondo deferred the application to afford Brown and her legal team to see Jonas’ statement, saying in due course he would hear Brown’s decision on whether she will continue to pursue the application.
Meanwhile, Zondo today granted businessman Fana Hlongwane the right to cross-examine former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, and granted former presidential adviser Lakela Kaunda the right to cross-examine former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor.
The deputy chief justice reserved judgement on the application launched by the Gupta brothers Ajay and Rajesh, and by Duduzane Zuma.