Proceedings at the state capture commission of inquiry on Thursday ended on a dramatic note after chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo refused to recuse himself as per former President Jacob Zuma’s request.
Zuma delayed his appearance at the commission more than three times, with the decision to dismiss his application being the latest move.
That meant that he would have had to be in the witness box on Thursday, but he left the proceedings in Braamfontein without Zondo’s permission.
Zuma accused Zondo of bias, saying he would not be able to assess his evidence independently and fairly.
Zondo, however, asserted again that the former president’s view had no merit and that it was too late to take issue with his chairpersonship of the commission three years after he was appointed.
“Indeed, the applicant has to date not furnish the commission with affidavits he undertook in July last year he would provide to the commission. In these circumstances, it cannot lay in the applicant’s mouth to say the commission has ignored the matters he raised in his evidence,” Zondo said.
Zuma’s lawyer, Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, said they planned to report Zondo to the Judicial Service Commission (JSE), arguing he had acted as a witness and judge in a matter he presided over.
“You have become a judge in a dispute that involves yourself,” Sikhakhane said.
Meanwhile, Zuma could be arrested for defying the summons issued for him to appear before the commission.
Legal expert Lawson Naidoo said the commission could explore two options to force Zuma to testify.
He said that the commission could issue a warrant of arrest against Zuma.
“The other option that the commission has is to lay a criminal charge because the failure to respect the subpoena is a criminal offence in terms of the Commissions Act,” Naidoo said.
Earlier, Zondo described the matter as serious, saying that the commission needed to reflect on it.
Proceedings were adjourned until Monday.
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