Hawks captain Zuma no-show at Zondo commission, Covid-19 suspected
A second witness citing Covid-19 this week failed to show up at the Zondo commission investigating allegations of state capture.
This as the commission struggled to get started on Thursday morning because there were issues with all three witnesses scheduled to testify.
One witness was retired Hawks officer Capt Edward Zuma.
Commission evidence leader advocate William Nicholson said Zuma had recently indicated that a member of his family had coronavirus and he too showed symptoms.
As such, he had gone for a test. But when the commission tried to contact him the whole of last week and until Thursday, he was nowhere to be found, Nicholson revealed.
Zuma becomes the second witness this week to not show up using Covid-19 as the reason, after Brig Nyameko Xaba of the Hawks did so on Tuesday.
This was how Nicholson explained Zuma’s situation: “Capt Edward Zuma is a retired member of the Hawks. He confirmed to me that someone in his house contracted Covid-19 and he went to do the test, but I could not get hold of him after calling him every day last week.
“We did convey to him he that he may be able to testify remotely, but when I tried to contact him to make those arrangements, he was not available and he does not have an e-mail.”
Another witness who was billed to appear on Thursday, Col Welcome Mhlongo, applied to have his testimony stayed, revealing that he was not provided by the commission with an audio recording that is said to implicate him, despite having requested the recording since September 2019.
This angered commission chairperson Raymond Zondo, who granted the postponement of Mhlongo’s testimony but had some harsh words for the commission’s legal team.
The judge was particularly perturbed by the revelation that they too did not have the recording in their possession but had been only able to listen to it.
“If you are able to listen to it, arrangements can be made for them to listen with you. As long as they can hear what you have heard,” said Zondo. “We do not have much time as a commission. The first people to make sure we use the time we have is ourselves as the commission. I have always said the investigations must be guided and directed by the legal team.”
The third witness scheduled for Thursday was Terence Joubert, who had issues with conflicting affidavits he had submitted to the commission.
The commission heard that Joubert had submitted three affidavits, the second disowning the first with the third denouncing the second, saying in fact the first was the correct one.
This had led to Joubert’s legal representatives quitting.
He too was excused from testifying, making it a wasted day.
The commission adjourned at 11.20am and will resume on Friday.