'I will not negotiate dates with Jacob Zuma': judge Raymond Zondo
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has given dates in which former president Jacob Zuma must appear before the Commission into State Capture and these are not negotiable.
On Monday, Zondo said he received a letter from Zuma’s lawyer explaining why he would not be able to appear before him this week. Zuma cited his criminal case that he is attending to in the Pietermaritzburg High Court and the advice from his doctor as some of the issues preventing him from appearing before the commission.
“His doctor has advised him to limit his movements because of his age and Covid-19. He was seeking legal advice on the implications of the recent amendments to the regulations of this commission. I do not want to comment at this stage on his reasons for deciding that he will not appear before this commission this week," Zondo said.
“Since his attorneys informed the commission that he will not be appearing this week, in order for the commission to use its time optimally, arrangements were made for the matter that was going to be heard later in the year to be heard this week. The commission had to rearrange its plans so that we could use this week properly, which otherwise would be wasted.”
Former president Jacob Zuma was set to appear at the state capture inquiry this week. However, his lawyers said he was preparing for his criminal trial, and was advised by his doctor to limit his movements because his age increases his risks during the Covid-19 pandemic.Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo said he would send the former president a summons to appear in front of the inquiry in November 2020.
Zondo added: “I decided after the commission had received his response through his attorneys to fix the date for the hearing of the commission legal team’s application for an order authorising the issuing of a summons against Mr Zuma. I have determined that that date will be October 9 at 9am.”
Zondo said Zuma’s lawyers have been informed that if he is not satisfied of the reasons why they cannot be present during the application by the commission’s legal team, the application for him to be subpoenaed will proceed as planned.
“I have also determined new dates for Mr Zuma’s appearance before the commission since becoming aware of the letter from his attorneys. Those dates are 16 to 20 November 2020. I know that in their letter, his attorneys said that dates should be negotiated with him. No dates will be negotiated with him.
“This commission has made it clear to the attorneys who represented him before that this commission does not negotiate dates with witnesses. The commission fixes the dates and people are supposed to appear. If they have good grounds not to appear, then they make a necessary application."
The former president was expected to appear before the commission this week, after his scheduled appearance in January was postponement due to ill health.
Zuma last appeared before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in July last year where he made a series of allegations about plots to kill him.