‘Unseemly’ for Zuma to engage in public spat with Zondo – Motlanthe

Former President Kgalema Motlanthe. Image credit: USIP

Former President Kgalema Motlanthe says it is “unseemly” for former President Jacob Zuma to engage in a public spat with Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Speaking to talk radio 702 on Wednesday, Motlanthe suggested that Zuma is getting bad advice from his legal team.

‘Judiciary is important’

He said, “The judiciary is an important arm of the state, particularly in our case since we are a constitutional democracy. The principle of judicial review is critical.

“So, for a former head of state to engage basically in a public altercation or spat and attack the Deputy Chief Justice of the highest court in the land is unseemly, and sometimes I get a sense that his legal team is not giving him good advice,” he said.

Zuma’s legal team and the Jacob Zuma Foundation have accused Zondo, in his capacity as chairperson of the state capture commission of inquiry, of being biased against Zuma.

His lawyers have also written to Zondo indicating that they intend to file an application for his recusal as chairperson of the inquiry.

“Until this application for your recusal is finally determined, President Zuma will take no further part in this commission and the chairperson is entitled to take any such step as he deems lawful and appropriate,” Zuma’s attorney Eric Mabuza wrote.

Zondo however went on to approve the inquiry’s secretariat’s application to issue a summons compelling Zuma to appear before the inquiry between 16 and 20 November, 2020.

Magashule-Mbalula spat

Motlanthe also commented on the Twitter spat between ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule and National Executive Committee (NEC) member Fikile Mbalula.

“Public spats are no good. They just generate a lot of heat and at the end, it doesn’t matter who was right at the beginning of the argument – at the end, none would be correct,” he said.

Mbalula had criticised Magashule for “employing” uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus in his office. He referred to Niehaus as a “thug” and “suspected criminal.”

In response, Magashule tweeted in Sesotho that Mbalula “was going mad” without mentioning his name. Mbalula in turn said his tweets had caused “the bosses to come out.”

An MKMVA march against Mbalula earlier this week triggered his frenzied tweets about Niehaus, MKMVA, Magashule and Zuma.

The ANC later reprimanded Mbalula and Magashule said he will engage with him “internally.”

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