Johannesburg - Although it remains unclear whether former president Jacob Zuma will appear before the Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo chaired State Capture Commission of Inquiry, what has become certain is the commission’s desire to have Zuma appear before it.
Zuma has been implicated in numerous allegations of state capture and corruption by several witnesses, including former Bosasa CEO Angelo Agrizzi and former ANC MP Vyjtie Mentor, who have appeared before the commission since it began its work last August.
According to News24, a letter by the commission’s acting secretary Peter Pedlar to Lungisani Matsha, Zuma’s lawyer, the commission wanted clarity about when the former president would appear before the commission.
The letter to Matsha, reads: “It has become urgent to know whether your client will appear before the commission on the dates given in our letter of April 30, 2019, as we are now about five weeks away from July 15, 2019. We therefore request that your client advises us in writing by no later than Wednesday, June 12, 2019, next week whether he will appear before the commission on those dates.”
Zuma has often downplayed allegations that he had facilitated state capture, corruption and looting of state-owned enterprises through his relationship with the controversial Gupta family.
Speaking to guests about the commission at his birthday party earlier this year, Zuma said: “Where have you ever heard of people running a country shouting out that they want to be investigated? Some of us tried to tried helping them and told them that they couldn’t do that.”
“There is no government in the world that does not have its faults, wherever you may go. It’s only the government in heaven that doesn’t have problems, but with governments on earth, forget it,” said Zuma.
Last month while on the campaign trail with ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, Zuma said that constant links of him with state capture and corruption were the works of sustained propaganda and he dared those accusing him of being at the centre of corruption to come forward with evidence stating that “this is what Zuma has done”.
Last week former South African Airways treasurer and head of financial risk management Agnes Stimpel told the commission that Zuma had interfered in procurement at the national carrier.
Stimpel said that Wolf Meyer, the former SAA chief financial officer, had told her at a meeting with potential funders one had dropped Zuma’s name in an attempt to influence the deal.
Stimpel said: “He (Meyer) said that he had been called into a meeting by one of the potential funders. He went to the meeting and thought they were going to discuss the maximum amount they could offer. He was told that they must ensure that SAA gives this client the deal because “number one” wants this deal to happen.”
Stimpel said that Meyer said that he had understood that “number one” meant to be Jacob Zuma, who was president at the time.