Zuma Foundation accuses Zondo of trying to humiliate JZ

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

The JG Zuma Foundation has called on Zondo to not allow his apparent personal issues with Zuma to blind his judgement, criticising the chairperson for ‘humiliating’ the former president.

The Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Mhlanganyelwa Zuma Foundation has lashed out at the chairperson of the commission of inquiry into state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, for his media conference apparently set up to “humiliate” the former president and his attorneys.

On Monday, Zondo said that he will not negotiate with former president Jacob Zuma and his legal team on the dates that he, the former president, should testify at the commission.

“This commission does not negotiate dates with witnesses,” Zondo said.

The Deputy Chief Justice announced on Monday that he has determined that Zuma will appear before him from 16 to 20 November.

He said on 9 October at 9am he will hear an application by the commission’s legal team for the authorisation for a subpoena against Zuma for the former president to appear before the commission. He said this application will continue with or without Zuma or his legal team being present.

Zondo added that should Zuma’s legal team wish to make a virtual appearance at the commission’s legal team’s application for a subpoena, they should timeously inform the commission so arrangements can be made, adding that “that application will continue with or without them”.

Read more: Zondo will not ‘negotiate’ on when Zuma will testify

According to a letter by Zuma’s attorneys, Zondo said, the reasons provided for the former president not appearing before the commission this week include that he was preparing for his arms deal court matter, that doctors had advised that because of his age in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, he should limit his movements and that he was seeking legal advice regarding the amendments of the commission’s regulations.

Zuma Foundation statement

However, the Foundation said in a statement that the “attack” on Zuma and his legal representatives was “absolutely unjustified and prejudicial”.

“The chairperson lacks this courage when faced with the open defiance by certain people, who have refused to appear before the commission. He has not called a press conference to respond to Minister Pravin Jamnandas Gordhan when he failed even to file an affidavit to explain his non-appearance. This inconsistency and fear of the powerful is not expected from the man who occupies the second-highest office in the judiciary,” it said.

The foundation’s statement was shared on social media by Zuma’s daughter, Dudu Zuma-Sambudla

The Foundation was referring to an incident in which a legal representative for Gordhan, in August asked for his cross-examination by former Sars boss Tom Moyane to be postponed, citing Cabinet commitments for his request for postponement

It further claimed that Zondo’s instruction to the former president to appear was only communicated to the former president on Friday, 18 September,  and that Zuma, or his lawyers, had not even responded to the letter.

“We respect the judiciary, but remind the Chairperson that he is not above the law himself and that he must be consistent in how he deals with witnessed and implicated persons. No witness, even the most arrogant and the most petulant, have inspired the Chairperson to call a media briefing merely to castigate them,” said the Foundation.

It further called on Zondo to not allow his apparent personal issues with Zuma to blind his judgement.

Read the full statement below shared on social media by his daughter Dudu Zuma-Sambudla:

(Additional reporting, Makhosandile Zulu)

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