Redi Tlhabi wants Jacob Zuma to come face to face with Zondo again

Journalist Redi Tlhabi has applied to the state capture commission to cross-examine Jacob Zuma over recent claims made by the former president.
Journalist Redi Tlhabi has applied to the state capture commission to cross-examine Jacob Zuma over recent claims made by the former president.
Image: File

President Jacob Zuma could make a return to the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture to be cross-examined  by lawyers representing media comentator and journalist Redi Tlhabi.

Tlhabi's lawyers on Friday applied to the commission chair deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo to cross-examine Zuma, after the former president accused Tlhabi during his appearance at the commission last week of working on the film that is intended to protray him as a rapist. Zuma was acquited on a rape charge in 2007.

The former president pulled out from testifying at the commission after his lawyers, lead by Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, expressed their unhappiness with the line of questioning by the commission of inquiry evidence leader Adv Paul Pretorius. They accused Pretorius of cross-examining their client instead of questioning him.

"We are instructed that on 15 July 2019, during his testimony before the commission, the former president Jacob Zuma made several false and defamatory allegations regarding our client.

"During his testimony, Mr Zuma alleged, inter alia, that our client: Is a part of a group of individuals attempting to 'assassinate his character'; Is working on a movie titled 'Raped by Power' in the United States; and this movie is made for the purpose of furthering the narrative that Mr Zuma is a rapist," read the letter penned by Webber Wentzel partner Dario Milo, who added that their Tlhabi denied the allegations.

Milo said the allegations created an impression that Tlhabi was instructed by foreign agents to spread negative propaganda against Zuma.

"As a result of these allegations, our client has suffered, and continues to suffer, harm to her reputation as a respected and trusted journalist and media commentator.

"As a result, our client intends to apply to the commission … to give evidence and to cross-examine Mr Zuma in order to counter the allegations made by Mr Zuma and to ensure that the commission has all relevatn information before it so that it is in a position to test the truthfulness of Mr Zuma's allegations," wrote Milo.

Tlhabi on Monday said she had no intention to sue Zuma for "causing harm" to her reputation.

"I have no intention to pursue Mr Zuma outside of the same forum he used to spread his lies," said Tlhabi via text message.

Zuma's spokesperson Vukani Mathabela said he could not comment on the matter as the commission was yet to formally contact the former president.

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