Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - When former president Jacob Zuma’s appearance before the state capture commission scheduled for later this month was postponed this week for medical reasons, his family and supporters blasted those accusing him of employing delaying tactics.

Earlier this week commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo accepted a submission by Zuma’s legal team indicating that he is due to undergo medical treatment next month.

In a much-anticipated appearance Zuma faced Zondo last July in four days of testimony which he cut short on the final day due to unhappiness with the line of questioning. He has subsequently missed two more scheduled appearances.

Zuma’s advocate, Thabani Masuku SC, said there was no basis for the commission’s evidence leaders to issue summons for Zuma to appear because his medical team was willing to meet Zondo to privately brief him on Zuma’s medical condition.

On Friday Zuma’s son Edward, spokesperson of the Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association Carl Niehaus and chairperson of the Radical Economic Transformation Champions Nkosentsha Shezi criticised those questioning the authenticity of Zuma’s health status.

Edward Zuma said: “The lawyers told the commission everything so I cannot waste time on commenting on people’s silly thoughts.”

Niehaus said claims that Zuma was deliberately delaying were appalling and it was well known that he had been battling with his health.

“It is entirely unacceptable to try and play all kinds of games with former president Zuma’s health. People who say these are delaying tactics should be ashamed of themselves.”

He said with Zuma’s health issues having been brought to Zondo’s attention, the explanation by his legal representatives should be adequate.

People questioning Zuma’s integrity and attempting to put “some kind of onus” on him to prove beyond what is reasonable was unacceptable, Niehaus said.

Shezi said Zuma, like any other South African citizen, should be afforded space and privacy to attend to his health.

He said those accusing him of delaying tactics were people who lacked ubuntu and compassion.

“On top of that, he is an old man who has served his country for his entire life, from a very tender age.

“He did not enjoy his youth with his family as he dedicated his life to the liberation of the black masses in South Africa which benefits even the whites who do not like him today.

“We also know that there is an agenda that Zuma should be thrown into jail.

“The commission is not really about searching for evidence of state capture but it is trying to convince the entire world that Zuma was dirty,” Shezi said.

He added that it was ironic that in the evidence given to the commission it was many other people instead, and not Zuma, who had been shown to be dirty.

Political Bureau