South Africa 20.8.2018 02:45 pm

Zuma’s lawyers ask for more time to prepare for state capture probe

Former South African President Jacob Zuma speaks to his supporters after his court appearance in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, July 27, 2018. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Former South African President Jacob Zuma speaks to his supporters after his court appearance in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, July 27, 2018. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

The lawyers of the controversial Gupta family have also asked for more time to prepare for the inquiry.

Legal representatives of former president Jacob Zuma, the fugitive Gupta family and former public enterprises minister Lynn Brown on Monday requested the state capture commission of inquiry to afford them more time to examine allegations against their clients.

The advocates said theirs was a short notice from the inquiry to prepare themselves on behalf of their clients.

”The rules as you are aware require us to be given reasonable notice…you have done a lot of work to prepare, we simply propose to put in place a reasonable time frame in which to deal with the evidence, with me referring to the evidence of Vytjie Mentor and Themba Maseko, but broadly to my learned friends here to include future pieces of evidence that may require cross examination or evidence from our clients,”  said Advocate Michael Hellens, representing Ajay Gupta.

Hellens is tasked with interrogating the evidence from former government spokesman Themba Maseko and former ANC MP, Vytjie Mentor. Maseko told former public protector Thuli Madonsela that at the time he was CEO of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Zuma asked in 2015 him to ”help” the Gupta brothers, who at the time were then the owners of news channel ANN7 and The New Age newspaper.

Maseko said when he declined to cooperate, Ajay told him he would be ”dealt with”.  He was later fired from GCIS.

Zuma’s advocate Muzi Sikhakhane said he received notices about his client from the commission on August 3.

”What we request is documentation that will make it easy for all of us to know what case and its implications on our clients  We received a 103 document when we requested it on Friday… we want to place it on record that there will be no delays.”

Earlier, head of the commission’s legal team Paul Pretorius outlined the terms of reference. He added that this week would also see evidence on procurement by National Treasury being presented at the commission by Ndleleni Willie Mathebula. Mathebula will deal with procurement prescripts and policy.

Towards the end of the week, the commission will hear expert evidence on the state capture phenomenon and a comparative analysis from other countries, said Pretorius.

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