The chairperson of the commission of inquiry into state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, has adjourned the proceedings until Friday following concerns raised by the witness, former president Jacob Zuma, and his legal counsel.
Following the long adjournment from 1pm to 2pm, the former president and his legal counsel had raised concerns about the witness being questioned about the details of former minister of department of public enterprises Barbara Hogan’s testimony before the commission.
Zondo said the two legal teams held discussions on these concerns and reached an agreement that these should be looked at further by both teams to “see whether a way can be found [and] they can be accommodated without the commission’s legal team compromising their job”.
“I am confident that there are reasonable prospects that a way will be found [so] that we can proceed,” Zondo said.
Former president Jacob Zuma’s legal counsel, Muzi Sikhakhane SC, requested an adjournment to afford his client the opportunity to reconsider appearing before the inquiry.
Sikhakhane asked for the adjournment on the basis that it was becoming clear to him that Zuma was being cross-examined “on other people’s version” of events and not his own and that his client had been requested to appear before the commission “under false pretenses”.
Sikhakhane’s request, which was granted by the chair of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, came after Zuma had taken issue with dealing with the details of Barbara Hogan’s testimony which implicated the former president.
This was because he had earlier denied an allegation made by Hogan that he had interfered in the appointment of a group chief executive officer at Transnet in 2009 and had said his only choice for the position was Siyabonga Gama.
The former president questioned what would be the outcome of being “cross-examined” on the details of Hogan’s testimony when he had rebutted the allegation she had levelled and asked which other response should he give since he had already denied the allegation.
Zondo highlighted that when Hogan gave her version of events at the commission, the inquiry did not necessarily consider it to be true and neither did it necessarily consider Zuma’s denial of it to be true.
Zondo said it was imperative for the commission to look at all relevant issues in order to have “a full picture from all sides” before coming to a conclusion.
Zuma responded by saying it would be difficult to deal with the details of Hogan’s testimony because they “are not mine”.
Evidence leader at the commission advocate Paul Pretorius said the commission was not only duty-bound to put before Zuma Hogan’s testimony, which implicates the former president, but that doing so was only fair.