Politics / 20 July 2019, 09:44am / Loyiso Sidimba and ANA
Johannesburg - Former President Jacob Zuma has threatened to reveal more ANC “secrets” if his detractors don’t back off.
Zuma on Friday addressed hundreds of supporters from a stage in Pieter Roos Park after his appearance at the Zondo commission. He was in a threatening mood.
“Some say this old man is angry,” he said. “All I’m saying is people must be very careful. When I say, I will say things about them - I mean it.”
He warned his detractors that he would reveal information about more “spies” in the ruling party, after claiming his former Cabinet ministers Siphiwe Nyanda and Ngoako Ramatlhodi were double agents in the apartheid-era.
“They will think I am mad when I reveal them one by one,” he said, adding that what he had disclosed thus far was a consequence of sheer provocation.
He then went on to hint that he would reveal the name of the informer who had allegedly tipped of the apartheid security police as to the whereabouts of late SA Communist Party stalwart Chris Hani 38 years ago.
Zuma said it had been planned that Hani would be killed in his house in Lesotho but that apartheid forces found him with his children, and were informed by their seniors not to proceed with his assassination.
“An interesting question is, who had given the information to the Boers at that time?” said Zuma, before stopping his address abruptly without providing any further details.
Zuma’s address came after he made a dramatic turn, agreeing to continue giving evidence at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry Into State Capture, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Zuma, through his senior counsel Muzi Sikhakhane, on Friday told the commission that he had decided to withdraw his participation as the hearings were a “joke”, prejudiced him, and that the commission appeared to be politically influenced.
Zuma demanded that questions be asked in a manner acceptable to him.
Initially it was believed that the commission had conceded to his demand, but in a statement on Friday, the commission denied reports that it had agreed to give Zuma’s legal team a prepared list of questions before he took the stand to give evidence.
Justice Zondo said the commission had, in fact, merely agreed to indicate to Zuma’s lawyers which subjects it found of interest. “This means that, if in a witness’s affidavit or statement various incidents or events are dealt with, the commission’s legal team will indicate which ones of those incidents or events or matters they would like the former president to provide his version on,” the commission said in a media statement.
Sikhakhane insisted that Zondo probe the conduct of his staff. “I’m saying it as something that the chairperson must investigate. It is important that the judge, as the second most senior judge in this country, you know whether your left hand is acting in good faith, without political influence and whether these things they (staff) are doing are a mistake or by design,” Sikhakhane told Justice Zondo.
Earlier, Justice Zondo asked commission staff to provide him with a report on how the commission released a statement on Thursday announcing that Zuma would return to testify the next day without informing him.
“When you get that report from them, I am asking you to truly investigate whether this treatment of witnesses that you did not design just happens, is intended or a mistake,” Sikhakhane said.
He continued: “We are here today to tell you that we will take no further part in these proceedings.”
Sikhakhane said while Zuma had been invited to appear at the commission, his legal team had had reservations about the invitation and anticipated an impasse.
The dramatic withdrawal by Zuma forced Justice Zondo to halt proceedings and call both legal teams into his Chambers for over an hour.
Head of the commission’s legal team, Paul Pretorius said Zuma and his legal team were asking to be excused from the application of the rules and that not a single question asked had gone beyond the terms of reference and rules set down.
Pretorius said he could not give any undertaking to change his questioning methods as this would result in matters becoming superfluous. His statement came after he was slammed over his “cross-examining style”.
“There has never been an undertaking not to ask questions to determine the truthfulness of evidence,” he said, insisting that the commission’s legal team had complied with the rules and would continue to do so.
After discussions with both legal teams, Justice Zondo explained that an agreement had been reached and that Zuma indicated that he wished to continue to co-operate with the commission. “It has been agreed that the way the former president’s concerns can be taken care of is that the commission’s legal team will indicate to his legal team what the commission’s areas of interest are in each witness’s statement or affidavit they would like the former president to testify (on),” he said.
Justice Zondo pointed out that Zuma would, through his legal team, provide statements that indicated what he had to say on the incidents or areas of interest that would have been pointed out by the commission’s legal team in each witness’s statement or affidavit.
Justice Zondo indicated that Zuma and the commission’s legal team would hold a meeting in the next two weeks at which Zuma’s counsel would be furnished with a document highlighting which affidavits would be addressed and which testimony by witnesses they would like Zuma to respond to.
He further ordered that the two legal teams agree on the time frame in which the documents would be shared.