Jacob Zuma yet to file papers challenging Justice Zondo's dismissal of his recusal bid
Johannesburg - Former president Jacob Zuma has yet to file high court papers to challenge the decision of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to dismiss his application for his recusal.
Drama unfolded at the inquiry on Thursday when Zuma and his senior counsel, Muzi Sikhakhane, staged a walkout moments after Justice Zondo dismissed the former president’s application for his recusal.
Sikhakhane told Justice Zondo that his client was going to report him to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for allegedly acting as “a witness and a judge” in the hearing. He also asked that he and his client be excused from the proceedings to allow them to review the ruling in a high court.
Zuma was served with a summons to appear before Justice Zondo from Monday to Friday.
While Zuma was expected to return to the hearing after the tea adjournment on Thursday for a decision on whether he should take the stand and respond to allegations of state capture against him and the Guptas, he left with his entourage including his counsel, prompting Justice Zondo to say that the former president had left without his permission.
He asked the commission’s legal team to reflect over the weekend but stopped short of saying what options he had. It was expected that evidence leader advocate Paul Pretorius would ask Justice Zondo to take harsh action against Zuma for allegedly undermining the summons but commission spokesperson Mbuyiselo Stemela said no such decision has yet been taken.
He indicated that the commission was likely to call new witnesses on Monday.
Zuma’s attorney, Eric Mabuza, on Sunday said “it was too early for them” to file papers in the high court and to lodge a complaint with the JSC against Justice Zondo.
Zuma applied for the recusal of commission chairperson, citing a long-standing friendship. He also argued that he played an important role, while ANC national chairperson in 1997, to influence former president Nelson Mandela to appoint Justice Zondo to the bench.
“It is common cause that at the time I was also the national chairperson of the ANC and the provincial chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal.
“These were indeed positions of influence within the ruling party, the ANC. Accordingly, his attempt to communicate that I was insignificant in the national political arena is untrue,” Zuma said.
He also said that Justice Zondo had visited him at his presidential residence in Durban soon after his appointment as head of the commission, saying that was proof of their friendship dating back many years.