Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo will state today whether he recuses himself as chairman of the Zondo Commission for the duration of former president Jacob Zuma’s testimony to the commission.
The Zondo Commission investigates allegations of state capture.
The commission should have finalised their investigation already, but it has been frustrated by several incidents preventing former president Jacob Zuma to testify to the commission.
Zuma has been implicated by many a witness that appeared in front of the commission. Zondo made no secret that Zuma’s tactics are frustrating.
In the latest move, described by some as a Stalingrad strategy, Zuma’s legal team applied on Monday that Zondo should recuse himself after Zuma had been summoned to testify. Zondo undertook to make his decision known on Tuesday, but he indicated that he needed more time to work through the documents pertaining to the matter.
Zuma’s legal representative, Advocate Musi Sikhakhane, requested permission for Zuma to attend a funeral today, instead of attending the hearing. Zondo granted the request, on condition that Zuma attends the hearing on Thursday, if necessary.
On Monday, Sikhakhane argued that Zondo made certain comments which caused the former president to believe that the commission is on a witch-hunt fuelled by a political complot against him (Zuma). This is only one of a handful of allegations that casts doubt over Zondo’s credibility.
Zuma also alleged in an affidavit that he had a close relationship with Zondo, which started in the 1990s. Zuma’s legal team argued that this is a conflict of interest. They also mention other incidents that constitute a conflict of interest, according to them. Zondo categorically denied these allegations.
It is widely reported that Zuma is only playing for time, but legal expert, Dr Llewellyn Curlewis of the University of Pretoria, said Zuma is just standing on his rights as a citizen of a democratic South Africa.
Curlewis said it is a principle of the law that every citizen of a democracy has the right to defend themselves with every means available. It is also expected that every legal counsel defending a client, should do that to the best of their ability.
Curlewis said the fact that Zuma is already standing trial on corruption charges in Pietermaritzburg, gives him every right to use all legal means available to him, so that he does not incriminate himself, even it means using his right to remain silent at the commission or to apply for the recusal of Deputy Chief Justice Zondo.
Curlewis explained to Izak du Plessis what an application for recusal is and why he thinks Zondo should not recuse himself.
Watch the video of this interview
This article was republished from Rekord East with permission