25 June 2019

South Africa: 'He Is Relishing the Moment' - Zuma 'Can't Wait to Attend' State Capture Commission, Says Lawyer

Former president Jacob Zuma is looking forward to appearing at the state capture commission of inquiry, even if he isn't furnished with questions beforehand, says his lawyer Dan Mantsha.

Zuma has agreed to attend the commission in July and his testimony, it has been confirmed, will be open to the public.

Mantsha told News24 on Tuesday that Zuma never refused to appear before inquiry chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, and added that because Zuma was invited, he "can't wait to attend. He is relishing the moment."

"There has never been any correspondence from us that he does not want to attend. He has always raised his concerns about the impartial and fairness displayed by the commission, according to his views.

"It is his view that the commission, from the word go, has treated him as an accused person," he said.

While Zondo and the former president have been going back and forth over the past month, Zuma confirmed that he will attend the commission on July 15 to 19.

'Factional political narratives'

In the past, Zuma has been critical of the commission, believing that it is geared against him.

A letter to Zuma, written by acting secretary Peter Pedlar, quotes Zuma as calling the commission or Zondo an "extension of factional political narratives which are a grand scheme by those who seek to accuse others while they sit in comfort that they will be protected from the exposure".

While this brings into question both Zuma's willingness to testify and his possible side-stepping of questions, it seems he won't have a choice but to answer to Zondo's standards.

The Commissions Act will make it difficult for Zuma to evade giving testimony as it makes it clear that any person who has been summoned and who fails to attend or fails to answer questions satisfactorily, could be found guilty of an offence and could face imprisonment.

Zuma was asked on at least three occasions to indicate whether he would appear before the commission or provide an affidavit.

Mantsha said according to Rule 3.10, Zuma was entitled to be provided with questions, which he had requested but did not receive. He said the questions were meant to facilitate whatever Zuma was going to say.

The former president's name has made many appearances in the 100-plus days of testimony at the commission and he has been implicated in serious state capture allegations.

Source: News24

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