The supporters of former President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, claim that he is being unfairly targeted by the commission of inquiry into State Capture, led by Deputy Chief Justice, Ray Zondo.
Zuma, who served as president from 2009 until his resignation in 2018, was told by Zondo on Monday that the commission will no longer be negotiating appearance dates with him as a key witness for the inquiry into State Capture.
“I have determined new dates for Mr Zuma’s appearance at the inquiry,” said Zondo, as reported by TimesLIVE. “No dates will be negotiated with them [Zuma’s legal team] or with him. “This inquiry does not negotiate dates with witnesses. The inquiry fixes the dates and people appear. The application brought by the inquiry’s legal team for the issuing of the summons against Mr Zuma will proceed on October 9, with or without his legal representatives.”
Zuma has been avoiding appearing before the commission and was supposed to appear earlier this week, but his lawyers sent a letter to the inquiry saying their client was preoccupied with preparing for his criminal trial, and was scared of contracting COVID-19 should he travel to Gauteng.
However, a group of Zuma’s supporters, calling themselves the Gauteng RET President Zuma Support Group, believe that Zondo’s hard stance with Zuma has been partial and that he is being unfairly targeted.
“There are several other witnesses who, for various reasons, have delayed appearing before the inquiry, but the inquiry’s engagements with them have been, and continue to be, through direct and confidential personal contact,” said Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association spokesperson Carl Niehaus, according to TimesLIVE.
“Among those the most notable example is minister Pravin Gordhan, who was to appear before the inquiry for cross-examination, but who has not done so to the point where it is appearing he is defiant and arrogant in being unavailable.
“The minister seems to regard himself to be in a special category of super-citizen who is not answerable to anyone, unlike the rest of us as South African citizens.”
However, at the time, Zondo expressed his dissatisfaction with Gordhan’s failure to appear before the commission, but Niehaus insists that the Commission is not interested in hearing the RET faction’s side of the story.
“Evidently the inquiry has specific persons who it is targeting, and the appearance of witnesses before the inquiry are not equal-opportunity moments,” he continued.
“It is evident the prime target the inquiry and its chairperson have in their crosshairs, and are literally hunting down, is [former] president Zuma.”