South Africa: Confirmed - Zuma Back At Zondo Inquiry After Impasse

Former President Jacob Zuma at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, July 17, 2019.

Former president Jacob Zuma is expected back at the state capture commission of inquiry on Friday following an impasse between his legal team and that of the commission.

"The Commission will continue to hear testimony of former President of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma", it confirmed in statement issued on Thursday.

This comes after Zuma's legal team of Dan Mantsha and Muzi Sikhakhane SC objected to evidence leader advocate Paul Pretorius's line of questioning, accusing him of cross-examining Zuma.

On Wednesday, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo adjourned proceedings until Friday to allow for the legal teams to iron out the impasse.

Meanwhile, the Pan African Bar Association of South Africa (Pabasa) expressed concerned about recent reports of death threats made against advocate Sikhakhane.

On Tuesday, Zuma told the commission of death threats made against him and his children following his appearance on Monday.

He said his personal assistant had received a call and the person on the other end said: "You must tell Zuma we are going to kill him and we are going to kill his children... "

Zuma said this followed threats made against his senior counsel, Sikhakhane, a week or so ago.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Pabasa condemned in the "strongest terms" threats of violence against legal practitioners.

"Advocates are independent legal practitioners who are ethically bound to represent their clients to the best of their abilities and to maintain the highest levels of integrity and professionalism as officers of the court.

"They advocate their client's case on the instructions of their client," said Pabasa's secretary general, Xoliswa Sibeko.

Sibeko added the criminal justice system would not function without the involvement of independent legal practitioners.

"Lawyers provide an essential service for truth-finding in courts, commissions of inquiry and other dispute resolution tribunals. Every person or party that is participating in such a proceeding has a right to be heard."

He added advocates have the task of protecting the interests of their clients, saying "attacks on lawyers, threats and attempts to intimidate them when discharging their professional duties are therefore also an attack on our democracy and the rule of law".

Source: News24

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