Johannesburg - Former president Jacob Zuma has accused the Zondo commission into state capture of instigating South Africans against him by publicly revealing his refusal to undertake to testify before the inquiry.
Through his lawyers, Zuma has now undertaken to appear before the commission, where he has been implicated in several allegations by witnesses who took the stand since last year when proceedings commenced.
Zuma has however never indicated interest to either cross-examine the witnesses who implicated him or give his version to commission.
Last month, the commission called on Zuma to appear before it on July 15 to answer questions relating to allegations made against him, but Zuma had instead requested the commission to first furnish him with the questions they wanted to ask him, which the commission refused and publicly revealed.
In a letter written to the commission’s acting secretary on Monday, Zuma’s lawyer Daniel Mantsha lambasted the inquiry for publicly revealing its exchanges with Zuma.
“Your decision to issue a press statement amounts to nothing but a disinformation campaign and an unfortunate attempt at instigating the public against our client. We view this stratagem of naming and shaming our client as unfortunate and constituting a descension into the political arena by the commission,” Mantsha said.
Mantsha said Zuma was reiterating his request to be given the questions the commission wanted him to answer beforehand in order for him to prepare.
“As our previous correspondence bears testimony, our request that you provide us with specific questions was consistently accompanied by an undertaking that our client wishes to cooperate with the commission. We had hope that the commission would find our approach more sensible and would have brought about a much closer approximation to the commission’s mandate in respect of our client and his true understanding of the issues that pertain to him as a former head of state,”Mantsha said
He took specific aim at the commission’s chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, saying his public comments gave an impression that the commission viewed Zuma as an accused and that it was prejudiced towards him.
“This has also left us with the distinct impression that you seek you own truth and to deliver our client to the commission for public display and in order to ambush and humiliate him rather than to fulfil the mandate of the commission as set out in the terms of reference,” Manstha said.
In a short statement, the commission acknowledged Zuma’s undertaking to appear before the commission from July 15 to July 19.