Former SA president Zuma returns to state capture inquiry

Former President Jacob Zuma at the State Capture Commission in Parktown, 16 July 2019. Picture Neil McCartney

In a statement on Thursday, the commission confirmed that the former president would continue giving testimony.

Former South African president Jacob Zuma is on Friday expected back in the hot seat at the state capture commission of inquiry chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Zuma started giving evidence on Monday and was scheduled to appear before the commission for the whole week.

However, in an unexpected turn of events on Wednesday, the former president and his legal team brought proceedings to a halt shortly after lunch. Their complaint was that Zuma was being cross-examined “very thoroughly” about details he knew nothing about.

His legal team and that of the commission butted heads occasionally over questions put to the former president.

Matters came to a head when Zuma’s senior counsel, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, threatened to advise his client against cooperating with the commission should the line of questioning remain the same.

Zuma’s grievances could not be resolved during an impromptu adjournment, leading to Zondo postponing the sitting to Friday.

In a statement on Thursday, the commission confirmed that Zuma would continue giving testimony.

Before the adjournment on Wednesday, evidence leader advocate Paul Pretorius quizzed Zuma on the damning testimony of ex-public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan. She alleged that Zuma had interfered and pushed to have Siyabonga Gama appointed Transnet CEO instead of Sipho Maseko in 2009.

Hogan told the commission last year that Maseko, now CEO at Telkom, was recommended by the board as the most experienced and highly qualified candidate to replace Maria Ramos.

Gama headed Transnet Freight Rail at the time and was under investigation for misconduct involving a multimillion-rand security tender at Transnet. Hogan told the commission that Zuma insisted that it should be Gama taking over “and no one else”.

Zuma vehemently denied telling Hogan that Gama be appointed CEO.

The former president is viewed as central in the alleged rent-seeking scandal that marked his two-term presidency.

– African News Agency

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