Zuma threatens to challenge legality of Zondo commission – report

Jacob Zuma. Image credit: Flickr/GovernmentZA

Former President Jacob Zuma has “hinted” that he may challenge the legality of the establishment of the state capture commission of inquiry and how it has been conducted, Business Day reports.

Zuma reportedly made the threat in his submission, made through his lawyers, against a summons application by the inquiry’s legal team.

He also criticised the inquiry, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, of abuse of process because it sought to summons him even when he had not refused to appear before it.

Zuma ‘failed to respond to 23 notices’

The ex-President first appeared before the inquiry in July 2019 and was meant to continue his testimony at a later stage.

However, his scheduled appearances have been postponed three times so far. The latest dates, 27-31 January, 2020, were included in the aborted summons application earlier this week but ultimately postponed because of Zuma’s undisclosed medical condition.

It has now emerged that the inquiry reportedly sent 23 notices to Zuma in respect of evidence implicating him, but he allegedly failed to respond.

In his submission, Zuma insisted that he has a right to ignore testimonies he feels do not implicate him, the report adds.

‘Attacks on inquiry’

The former President further claimed that many of the testimonies implicating him were made by witnesses who were “bitter” that he had removed them from their positions.

He also insisted that the evidence made so far had not implicated him in any unconstitutional or criminal conduct.

The inquiry’s evidence leader Paul Pretorius told Zondo on Tuesday that the submission by Zuma’s lawyers had made some “attacks on the integrity of the commission and members of the legal team.”

Zondo subsequently decided that the inquiry’s legal team should file a formal response to what Pretorius had termed “incorrect facts.”

It’s unclear at this stage when Zuma will re-appear at the inquiry. On Tuesday, his lawyer Thabani Masuku proposed that his lead doctor be allowed to brief Zondo on the nature of his medical condition “under very strict conditions of confidentiality.”

Zondo later said he had accepted “with some reluctance” Masuku’s suggestion, adding that this would then help determine when Zuma would be able to appear.

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