Former President Jacob Zuma “left” the state capture inquiry proceedings on Thursday “without permission,” according to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Zondo, who chairs the inquiry, adjourned proceedings until Monday next week because Zuma was meant to testify until Friday.
“We return to the hearing in circumstances where Mr Zuma has left, I have been told. Mr Zuma had been issued with a summons to be here from Monday to tomorrow unless he was excused by me,” he said.
Zondo said he excused Zuma from attending the inquiry on Wednesday so he could attend a funeral following a request from his lawyers.
He added, “He has left today without asking to be excused. This is a serious matter, but in terms of the plans of the commission for this week, he was going to be, if I dismissed his application that I should recuse myself as I have done, asked to take the witness stand and be questioned about various matters.
“It is a pity that he has elected to leave without asking for permission. The commission will reflect on the matters that it needs to reflect on, but it will continue with its work.”
Recusal bid dismissed
Zondo had earlier dismissed Zuma’s recusal application, ruling that the ex-President had failed to meet “the test for a reasonable apprehension of bias.”
Immediately thereafter, Zuma’s lawyer, Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, indicated that they would “excuse” themselves from the proceedings.
He also revealed that Zuma will file a review of Zondo’s recusal ruling and lodge a complaint against him at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
“You have become a judge in disputes that involve yourself in that you determine disputes that arise in matters that include you,” Sikhakhane claimed.
Responding to the Sikhakhane’s remarks, evidence leader Advocate Paul Pistorius said the summons issued against Zuma “still stands” and the ex-President would be acting “unlawfully” by excusing himself.
Zondo indicated that other witnesses will testify when the inquiry resumes next week.