Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Themba Hadebe/AP/African News Agency (ANA)
Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Themba Hadebe/AP/African News Agency (ANA)

#StateCaptureInquiry: 'Zuma was advised against speaking, but he will'

By BALDWIN NDABA AND SAMKELO MTSHALI Time of article published Jun 21, 2019

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Johannesburg - Former President Jacob Zuma is preparing himself to appear before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry to mount a fight against allegations implicating him in state capture.

Sources close to him have confirmed that his long-awaited appearance before the Zondo commission is set to finally take place from July 15 to 19.

Among those who have implicated Zuma in allegations of facilitating and aiding state capture, including the rampant looting of state-owned enterprises, are Pravin Gordhan, Fikile Mbalula, Ngoako Ramatlhodi and his former adviser Sam Muofhe, Barbara Hogan, Themba Maseko and Vytjie Mentor.

On Thursday, one of the sources said: “Baba (as Zuma is affectionately called) will be appearing before Zondo. He was advised against speaking, but he will speak.”

This comes following a statement from the commission on Thursday which noted that since exchanging corres­pondence with Zuma’s lawyers from April 30, 2019, requesting that the former president appear before the commission from July 15 to 19, he had made several demands of the commission.

Among these demands were that the former president had insisted he be furnished in advance with the questions that he would be asked on the witness stand before he could consider whether to give the required undertaking.

“The commission maintains that Mr Zuma is not entitled to insist that he be furnished with the questions in advance of his appearance before he can consider whether to give the undertaking,” said spokesperson for the state capture inquiry Mbuyiselo Stemela.

Meanwhile, Zuma now has an option to petition the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to grant him permission to continue to use state funds to fight his legal battles, including his impending fraud and corruption trial.

His latest dilemma came after the full bench of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria dismissed his appeal application last week against the same bench which ordered him to repay his legal bills incurred since 2004 while he was still deputy president.

The full bench, led by Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba, handed down the original judgment on December 13 last year, which Zuma subsequently challenged.

Judge Ledwaba confirmed the original court ruling when he dismissed Zuma’s application, but made an impromptu order. Zuma can only petition the SCA if he obtained the full court order which detailed reasons for the dismissal of his appeal application.

Zuma’s spokesperson, Vukile Mathabela, did not respond to queries about the matter. Zuma has to know the reasons for the dismissal of his appeal application before he could approach the SCA for a positive finding.

DA lawyer Elzanne Jonker said the party was also waiting for the full order of the appeal judges.

Jonker, however, said the dismissal of Zuma’s appeal meant that the state attorneys should start the process of collecting data on the exact amounts to be paid by Zuma since the state began funding his legal fees.

In December, the high court in Pretoria slammed President Cyril Ramaphosa and former president Thabo Mbeki for paying for Zuma, saying the former president faced paying between R16million and R32m in legal fees that the Presidency has coughed up for his corruption case since 2004, while he was still deputy president.

Political Bureau

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