Zuma's imprisonment won't stop state capture inquiry making a finding on him: Zondo

Mawande AmaShabalala Political journalist
'All the affidavits of witnesses who implicated Mr Zuma have been sent to him. He chose to not deny or admit,' said justice Raymond Zondo. File photo.
'All the affidavits of witnesses who implicated Mr Zuma have been sent to him. He chose to not deny or admit,' said justice Raymond Zondo. File photo.
Image: Alon Skuy

Former president Jacob Zuma might have escaped appearing at the Zondo inquiry after his defiance of an order to do so, leading to his 15-month imprisonment by the apex court this week. But that will not make the evidence against him led at the state capture inquiry disappear.

This is according to commission chairperson deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, who was briefing the media on Wednesday.

Zondo said Zuma had made his bed, electing not to appear to answer allegations levelled against him.

The commission had done its part in serving Zuma with summons and affidavits of witnesses who implicated him.

To this end, the commission would make findings on Zuma when it compiled its report, which is a work in progress.

In any event, Zondo charged, it is not clear whether Zuma's appearance would have been of any use after he had threatened to remain silent if forced to appear.

“It would have been better to have Mr Zuma appear before the commission and make himself available for questioning until the questions were exhausted,” said Zondo. 

“But I am satisfied that in the end, the commission will be in a position to make clear findings based on the evidence it has heard.

“All the affidavits of witnesses who implicated Mr Zuma have been sent to him. He knows what they have said about or against him. He chose to keep quiet and not deny or admit.

“He had a chance to challenge that evidence and apply for leave to cross-examine them,” Zondo went on.

“So the commission will make its findings based on the numerous witnesses it has heard. I do not even know, if Mr Zuma did come under compulsion, how much of help he would have been.”

The Pretoria high court has given the commission a further three months to complete its work. An order from judge Selby Baqwa on Monday said it would now be required to wind up before September 30.

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