Johannesburg - Former president Jacob Zuma’s lawyers say he is considering deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondi’s call for his version of events related two testimonies at the state capture inquiry.
Zuma’s legal team said he supports the state capture inquiry and wants to participate fully with its work.
In a statement, the former statesman said his decision not to apply to cross-examine witnesses had been interpreted as an unwillingness to cooperate with the commission’s investigation.
“Former president Zuma made an election in terms of the rules of the commission that he will not apply to cross-examine the witnesses who allegedly implicated him or may implicate him‚” Zuma’s lawyers said.
“It would seem that despite him co-operating with the commission his election (in terms of the commission’s own rules) is misunderstood as non-cooperation‚ we find this very unfortunate since former president Zuma has sent his legal representatives to every sitting of the commission where the alleged evidence which may implicate him was being given‚ and further he has honoured through his legal team all the requests which were brought to the attention of his legal team by the commission.”
Zuma said he would apply his mind to Zondo’s request and report back on his decision.
On Thursday, Zondo said he had asked Zuma’s legal team to submit an affidavit stating Zuma’s version regarding the testimonies of former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor and former GCIS CEO Themba Maseko. This is after Zuma had elected not apply to cross-examine witnesses claiming he had not been implicated in testimonies that have been heard at the inquiry.
“There are some areas where I would like him to deal with. For example‚ the evidence of Miss Mentor that while she was at the Gupta residence‚ when she got agitated and became loud‚ the former president emerged from one of the rooms and they spoke and he walked her to the car, as well as the evidence of Mr Maseko that he got a call from the former president on the afternoon that he was leaving his offices to attend a meeting with Mr Ajay Gupta, said Zondo.
"I have written to the former president’s lawyers and asked that he put his version in an affidavit to assist the commission deal with those two aspects. And his attorney has indicated that he will convey the invitation to him," said Zondo.
On Wednesday, Zuma denied the existence of state capture while addressing students at Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape.
Zuma posed a question asking whether any of the three arms of the state were captured. He said the term state capture was a “politically decorated term”.
“There is no state that is captured, the judiciary is not captured, Parliament is not captured? So where is the state capture?” he asked.
“Where is the state capture? Why do we just swallow what is given?”
“There is no state capture in South Africa, there are people who did things to others, but there is no such thing called state capture. Let us not swallow everything that is given to us,” said Zuma.