Former president Jacob Zuma will not attend next week’s hearings into allegations of state capture during his term of office because he was “too busy” preparing for his corruption case involving a multi-billion-dollar arms purchase scandal, his lawyer said on Thursday.Zuma was scheduled to attend the state capture inquiry, which is probing corruption and maladministration under his nine-year reign, to explain his side of the state capture story when he ran the country for nine years till 2018.
However, Zuma’s lawyer Eric Mabuza said the former president was “too busy preparing for the arms trial” in which he is answering fraud charges involving over US$2 billion of arms purchased for the country’s armed forces in 2005 when he was state deputy president.
Mabuza said the Zondo Commission had set the hearing date for Zuma’s appearance without consulting his client, thereby leaving him with little time to prepare for the commission.
The former president was expected to appear before the commission next week following a postponement in January due to ill health.
The Zondo Commission was set up during his rule following the Ombudsman’s recommendations to probe state capture allegations, among which was the alleged use of US$22 million for a “security” upgrade the former president’s private home in Nkandla Village in KwaZulu-Natal Province.