The chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, has postponed to Wednesday his ruling on former president Jacob Zuma’s application to have the commission’s chair recuse himself.
After hearing arguments from Zuma’s counsel, Muzi Sikhakhane, and the commission’s evidence leader, Paul Pretorius, on Monday, Zondo was expected to give the ruling on Tuesday.
However, Zondo said on Tuesday that he was still working on his judgment on the application and that he had more documents to peruse before he could give a ruling.
Zondo then ended the proceedings, saying “we are going to adjourn and we must resume tomorrow at 10[am]”.
He added that should he not be ready at 10am, communication would be sent out and that proceedings could start at around 11am or 12pm.
Sikhakhane indicated that Zuma would like to place on record a response to Zondo’s statement on Monday, in which the deputy chief justice denied being friends with the former president.
Sikhakhane said Zuma’s responding statement “may or may not put in dispute” some of the things Zondo had stated, with the former president giving his understanding of the relationship between him and the commission’s chair.
Sikhakhane also told Zondo that Zuma would not be in attendance at the commission on Wednesday because he had a funeral to attend.
On Monday Sikhakhane, for Zuma, argued that the commission had fed into a narrative that the former president “messed up our country” – and that Zondo’s comments, particularly to“sweetheart witnesses” with an axe to grind against Zuma, had aided in that narrative.
Pretorius said it was difficult not to conclude that the real reason why Zuma brought such an application was that he was apprehensive there would be adverse findings against him.
Then-president Jacob Zuma established the commission in January 2018, on the eve of an ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting expected to discuss his recall. He had exhausted legal options to set aside former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendation for the establishment of such a commission, with its chairperson to be appointed by the chief justice.<
Additional reporting by News24 Wire