Home South African Zuma asks “biased” Zondo to recuse himself

Zuma asks “biased” Zondo to recuse himself

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Former president not convinced that Zondo can give him a fair hearing when he appears at the state capture commission

Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Sumaya Hisham/Reuters

FORMER president Jacob Zuma has asked Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to recuse himself when he appears before the state capture commission in November.

In his formal notification to the commission, Zuma told Zondo that he appeared to harbour a personal vendetta against him and has presented him to the public as someone who is not co-operative.

Zuma said that while he had reservations about the legality of the commission, out of respect for the country’s systems he would nonetheless present himself.

He claims that he has been subjected to unfair treatment that was meant to humiliate him.

This is contained in a letter written by advocate Eric Mabuza on Zuma’s behalf.

In the letter, Zuma referred to Zondo’s press conference last Monday, where the commission chairperson said that the former president must appear before the commission on November 16 to 20, to answer to allegations of state capture.

Zuma said they had noted that this special focus and targeting of him had been the hallmark of the commission’s approach since it commenced with its proceedings.

“As a result, (former) president Zuma views the recent media briefing as a culmination of a series of events by which he was singled out and targeted by the commission,” reads the letter.

Moreover, Zuma said he was not convinced that Zondo can give him a fair hearing should he continue to preside over his appearance.

“For the reasons to be fully set out in the application to be made soon, we (the lawyers) are instructed (by Zuma) to seek your recusal as chairperson of the commission on the ground that our client reasonably apprehends that you have already adopted a biased disposition towards him and cannot bring an impartial mind to the issues and evidence that relate to him.

“(Former) President Zuma’s conclusion that the chairperson is no longer capable of exercising an independent and impartial mind is fortified by what he views as the unwarranted public statements made by the chairperson at the said media briefing.”

REASONS

In setting out the reasons why Zuma believed Zondo should step aside when he appears in November, he said the pair had a personal history and it was likely, he claimed, that Zondo would use the commission to settle old scores.

“(Former) President Zuma believes that the source of the chairperson’s bias against him stems from the fact that the (former) president and the chairperson have historical personal, family and professional relations that ought to have been publicly disclosed by the chairperson before accepting his appointment.”

On Sunday, Independent Media’s politics desk reached out to the spokesperson of the commission, Reverend Mbuyiselo Stemela, to comment.

Stemela said Zondo did not intend to respond to a number of legal letters and public statements criticising him for the way he handled the appearance of Zuma before the commission.