Zondo accidentally calls state capture evidence leader ‘Mr Malema’

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo returns from the recess during the first day of proceedings at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture held in Johannesburg, 20 August 2018. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo returns from the recess during the first day of proceedings at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture held in Johannesburg, 20 August 2018. Picture: Refilwe Modise

The Freudian slip suggests the EFF leader has heavily preoccupied the mind of the state capture commissioner’s chair.

In a slip of the tongue on Tuesday morning, the tension and conflict at the state capture commission of inquiry was briefly broken when Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo accidentally called advocate Vincent Maleka “Mr Malema”.

EFF leader Julius Malema has probably been on his mind a lot of late, because soon after this happened, Zondo read out some of his concerns about the statements Malema made against the commission and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan last week.

Malema and his deputy, Floyd Shivambu delivered inflammatory speeches outside the commission while Gordhan was giving testimony, accusing the minister of being a “dog” of white monopoly capital and continuing their attempts to link his daughter Anisha to corruption.

Shivambu also accused Gordhan of “owning” the media, “particularly Tiso Blackstar”.

Zondo said that while the commission could not get involved with disputes between Gordhan and his political rivals, for any witness at the inquiry to be subjected to intimidation was “unacceptable”. He also highlighted the insults that had been hurled at advocate Paul Pretorius, who Malema called a “bastard”, were equally unacceptable. He said he was concerned future witnesses would be put off coming to testify if this became a norm.

Maleka found being called “Mr Malema” in this context funny enough to laugh about it along with the rest of the room, even though Maleka felt his integrity was being questioned at the time by Mzwanele Manyi, who had just asked Maleka to recuse himself as evidence leader.

Advocate Pretorius later explained that Manyi changed his mind about this and had agreed to continue with his testimony with Maleka as evidence leader “and that if he has any difficulties in relation to any particular question, he would maybe raise it with you [Zondo]”.

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