Zuma wants Zondo to recuse himself as state capture commission chairperson

Former president Jacob Zuma
Former president Jacob Zuma
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Former President Jacob Zuma wants deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo to recuse himself as the chairperson of the state capture commission of inquiry.

In a letter, dated Monday September 28, sent by his attorney Eric Mabuza, Zuma says Zondo is biased against him and is not impartial when it comes to evidence before the commission that relates to him.

This comes after Zondo last week put his foot down and set down November 16 to 20 for Zuma to appear before the commission.

In the letter, Zuma – through his attorney – said he saw the media briefing in which Zondo made the announcement as “inappropriate and bereft of the requisite judicial decorum” the state capture commission deserved.

Zuma plans on filing a formal application to have Zondo recuse from the commission.

“President Zuma’s conclusion that the chairperson is no longer capable of exercising an independent and impartial mind is forfeited by what he views as the unwarranted public statements made by the chairperson at the said media briefing,” the letter reads.

Zuma said he believed Zondo’s alleged biased stems from their strained historical personal, family and professional relations which he believes Zondo should have disclosed before accepting the appointment as the commission’s chairperson.

Zuma said that he had always been willing to cooperate with the commission despite his reservations about the legality of the commission and the suitability of Zondo as its chairperson given their personal relations.

“However, the conduct of the chairperson towards him has left President Zuma with no choice but to take this step in order to defend his rights as a citizen.

“President Zuma believes that the chairperson’s conduct has stripped this commission of its much required and vaunted legitimacy,” the letter reads.

Zondo’s media briefing, according to the letter, sought to portray Zuma as someone who was not cooperating with the commission.

The commission, according to the letter, is also being used to “parade a particular narrative through witnesses and to treat certain witnesses, particularly those who implicate President Zuma, with deference”.

“It is apparent to President Zuma that the commission seeks to entrench a narrative that portrays him as guilty at all costs,” Zuma’s attorney wrote.

Zuma has vowed not to cooperate with the commission until the application for recusal had been filed, meaning he may not appear in the “non-negotiable” November dates Zondo set for him.

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