Johannesburg - Former president Jacob Zuma is giving the commission of inquiry into state capture the run around in its bid to get him to testify before it and respond to damning allegations of impropriety and malfeasance.
The commission chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo announced on Thursday that it had set aside a week for Zuma to give his side of the story and respond to witness statements implicating him including his former Cabinet ministers Nhlanhla Nene, Fikile Mbalula, Pravin Gordhan, Barbara Hogan and Ngoako Ramatlhodi, among other witnesses.
But Zuma has not responded to the commission’s request to confirm his willingness to appear before it in almost two months.
“The commission is currently reflecting on the fact that, after six weeks since it requested that it be furnished with the required undertaking, it has not been furnished with the undertaking and will take such decision(s) as it deems appropriate in due course,” reads the commission’s statement.
According to the commission, it is aware of certain views expressed or accusations made by Zuma against it but does not wish to deal with these issues now and prefers to confine itself to what it communicated on Thursday.
The commission wrote to Zuma’s lawyers on April 30, 2019, asking them to furnish it with a written undertaking that the client will appear on the given dates.
“So far, the commission has not been furnished with the undertaking. Zuma, has among other things, insisted that he be furnished in advance with the questions that he will be asked on the witness stand before he can consider whether to give the required under-taking,” the commission stated.
It believes that 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.
The commission has taken the position that it is enough that Zuma has been told that he will be afforded an opportunity to state his side of the story in response to what certain identified witnesses have revealed in their statements or affidavits or evidence about him or against him and that the questions he will be asked will be confined to the issues covered in the statements or affidavits or evidence of the identified witnesses.
Zuma has also been implicated by other witnesses including former Cabinet spokesperson Themba Maseko, former ANC MP Vytie Mentor and Ramathlodi’s erstwhile advisor Mahlodi Muofhe.
Last week, former SAA treasurer Cynthia Stimpel testified before the commission that Zuma’s name was invoked by an unidentified male in support of a bid to raise R15bn for the national carrier.