Former South African president Jacob Zuma has no intention of appearing before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry probing his role into state capture (corruption) until the panel’s chair recused himself from the hearings, Zuma’s lawyer said on Tuesday.Zuma has accused Raymond Zondo of being biased against him in past inquiry hearings, leading the former president to boycott the sitting until Zondo recused himself from the bench.
Zuma would no longer appear before the panel this week as scheduled until the issue of Zondo’s recusal was resolved, his lawyer Muzi Sikhakhane said.
The commission had scheduled the former leader to take his stand this week from 18 to 22 January but his chair was empty on Tuesday – for the second day in a row.
Zuma instructed his lawyer to write to the Zondo Commission, explaining that he would not appear on Monday until the country’s Constitutional Court had decided his legal bid to have Zondo recused from the bench, according to Sikhakhane.
In Zuma’s first bid to remove the chair last year, Zondo, who is South Africa’s deputy chief justice, turned down the former leader’s application for his recusal, saying the accusation had no merit.
The commission has yet to react to this latest dramatic show from its star witness, who is facing accusations from 35 other witnesses who appeared before him at the inquiry.
There are two months left before the commission ends its work, with Zondo announcing that the commission would approach the High Court for a three-month extension of the inquiry which kicked off two years ago.