Jacob Zuma to lodge review as Justice Zondo dismisses his recusal application
Johannesburg –Judge Raymond Zondo on Thursday dismissed the application brought by former president Jacob Zuma for his recusal from hearing his eventual testimony before the state capture commission.
"I am satisfied that the applicant's application has no merit," is how Zondo concluded his ruling after more than 50 minutes.
Zondo said Zuma had failed to meet the test for a reasonable apprehension of bias, after faulting the manner in which the test had interpreted by the Zuma's lawyer Muzi Sikhakhane.
Sikhakhane responded to the ruling by saying he and Zuma would leave the proceedings, would take the ruling on review and would lodge a complaint against Zondo with the Judicial Services Commission.
The last would take the form of accusing Zondo, the deputy chief justice, of ruling on "disputes that involve yourself".
The commission's evidence leader, Advovate Paul Pretorius, called the move by Zuma and his counsel to leave the proceedings out of order.
He pointed out the summons issued to Zuma on October 9 to appear before the commission stood.
"The applicant would be acting in defiance and unlawfully. It is up to you to decide whether the proceedings will continue or whether they will be stayed pending any application for a review," Pretorius said
"It is not open to the applicant to simply excuse himself."
Zondo then adjourned the commission for a tea break after Zuma and Sikhakhane's exit.
In his ruling, he rejected their contention he had compromised himself by asking questions of witnesses, including former ministers and members of Parliament (MPs), that led Zuma to fear he was favouring a particular version of events.
"I do not agree. I am entitled and sometimes obliged, even a judge in a court of law is entitled to seek clarifications."
Zuma could not expect him to remain passive when witnesses gave evidence and he believed he had struck the right balance in his approach, he said.
He also dismissed Sikhakhane's submission the selection of witnesses had suggested bias.
"The commission was free to use whatever witnesses were available as long as in the end the applicant himself was given an opportunity to come before the commission," he said.
African News Agency (ANA)