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S/Africa: Zuma under fire for Zondo Commission demands

Former President Jacob Zuma came under fire on Tuesday for demanding the removal of State Capture Commission of Inquiry chairperson…

Former President Jacob Zuma came under fire on Tuesday for demanding the removal of State Capture Commission of Inquiry chairperson Raymond Zondo from presiding over the probe into Zuma’s role in the alleged looting of public funds during his reign.According to Zuma, Zondo had shown bias towards him for refusing to grant him his wish to appear before the inquiry on a day of his choice in the hearings that kicked off last year to gather evidence on how the capture of public institutions for personal and political gain flourished under his nine-year rule which ended in February 2018.

Zuma’s lawyer Eric Mabuza wrote to the commission to inform it that his client felt Zondo was “biased against him and therefore must step aside and allow a different judge” to preside over the state capture commission.

What irked the former president most was Zondo’s reluctance to negotiate with Zuma and his legal team on a date of his own choosing when he should appear before the commission.

Zondo said Zuma should appear on a date assigned to him by the commission — and not to dictate to the commission his own date.

According to political analyst Dale McKinley, Zuma’s tactics amounted to “desperate attempts to hide the truth” in the role he played in the state capture activities that tarnished his administration’s image.

McKinley said Zuma was merely using delaying tactics to avoid taking accountability in state capture. If Zuma continued with this tactic, “most of the public would come to the conclusion that there’s something he obviously wants to hide.”

“Why would you not want to testify if you are given an opportunity to give your side of the story? That’s the question that everybody is asking Zuma,” McKinley said.

Zuma, however, has put his foot down that he would not appear before Zondo unless the latter removed himself from presiding over the hearings.

However, Zuma has no powers to order the commission to grant him a date for his appearance at the inquiry where witnesses have cited him as their enabler in state capture activities, Zondo, who is the country’s deputy chief justice, said.

The commission has, however, ordered Zuma to appear before it from 16-20 November.

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