Durban - Former president Jacob Zuma has labelled the State Capture Inquiry report “a classical case of the fruits of a poisoned tree” for implicating him in corruption and kleptomania committed during his term of office with alleged sidekicks the Gupta brothers.
Zuma said the commission, which was established in August 2018 and has cost the state almost R1 billion, was unlawful and predictably full of gossip, innuendo and conjecture.
He said it fell short of concrete evidence; therefore, he would be challenging all findings of the report that relate to him, and his legal team would be reporting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to the Judicial Service Commission within the next week or two.
Justice Zondo handed over the final instalment of the State Capture Inquiry report to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday.
The final report was in two parts and covered among other things the SABC, Parliament, the Vrede Dairy Project, the State Security Agency, the ANC, and the unlawful landing of the Gupta family at Waterkloof Air Force Base.
Zuma was scheduled to appear before the media, but due to his medical parole conditions – which forbid him to be in a gathering outside his residence – he was instead represented by his daughter, Duduzile, the Jacob G Zuma Foundation, as well as his legal team, led by advocate Dali Mpofu.
Mzwanele Manyi, the foundation’s spokesperson, accused Justice Zondo of being biased and said the report, which painted Zuma as the enabler and supporter of corruption and state capture, was irrational and unlawful.
He said there was no tangible evidence linking Zuma to corruption and they wanted the Judicial Service Commission to investigate Judge Zondo.
He said Zuma would also be taking the findings that relate to him on review. “To say Chief Justice Zondo is unworthy of being called a judge would be a serious understatement. Chief Justice Zondo fails the most basic of the tests even for the most junior judge,” said Manyi.
“No self-respecting judge worthy of that title sits on a case where he or she is directly affected and demonstrably conflicted in order to settle personal scores.” Criticising Judge Zondo’s conduct, Manyi said the judge refused to recuse himself to allow a neutral individual to receive Zuma’s submissions.
He blamed the media and judiciary for perpetuating a false narrative of Zuma refusing to appear before the commission when he was in fact fighting to have an unbiased decision-maker. Manyi said the judiciary would also be asked to investigate the grossly unlawful comments, unwarranted insults and political meddling by Justice Zondo.
“Given all his transgressions and displays of incompetence, the foundation has also separately instructed its own lawyers to look into the possibility of challenging the unlawful appointment of Justice Zondo as the Chief Justice of South Africa, in spite of his dismal performance at the JSC interviews as observed by millions of South Africans on national television,” he said.
“An announcement in this regard will be made in due course.”
Political analyst Dr Imraan Buccus said the Jacob Zuma Foundation was clutching at straws, and that the stance taken by Manyi, when in fact the commission was established by the former president, was surprising.
He said there was ample evidence to indicate that Zuma and his allies had been corrupt. “The commission was comprehensive and it went to great lengths to reduce the report that it had.
For many South Africans, the commission was a pivotal moment in our history and South Africans were looking to the outcomes that lead to prosecution, putting behind a dark period in our history,” said Buccus. “What has come out of the commission is very important because corruption in a developed society remains the greatest threat to development, social cohesion and national security