Duduzane Zuma irked by postponement of Jonas’s cross-examination at state-capture inquiry
Lawyers for Duduzane Zuma say they will on Wednesday “seek clarity” from the state-capture inquiry on the postponement of former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas’s cross-examination, which they say they were not given the chance to object to.
Zuma’s legal team had successfully applied for the right to cross-examine Jonas about his testimony that a Gupta brother had tried to bribe and threaten him into taking over the post of finance minister from Nhlanhla Nene.
The testimony put Zuma at a meeting where the Gupta brother promised Jonas the ministerial job and R600,000 if he took it. Jonas said he was promised a further R600m as soon as he got the job.
Zuma, son of former president Jacob Zuma, maintains this is a lie and has stated it was in fact himself and arms deal adviser Fana Hlongwane who met with Jonas over rumours that Hlongwane was trying to blackmail him.
He has agreed to testify about these claims to the inquiry, as has Hlongwane.
“We were ready to proceed with cross-examination on Wednesday, but we only learnt on Tuesday afternoon that Mr Jonas intended to seek a postponement of that cross-examination,” Zuma’s attorney Pieter van der Merwe told Business Day on Tuesday.
“Mr Zuma had flown into SA so he could come to the inquiry to be present for the cross-examination of Mr Jonas.
“We wrote to the commission on Tuesday to ask for the right to make representations about the postponement application, as we wanted to object to the postponement. But the commission responded to us at 4.30pm and informed us that the application had already been granted. So we want clarity on how this happened.”
Jonas and public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan were granted postponements of their evidence on Tuesday.
Van der Merwe says Zuma’s lawyers want to know when the inquiry was made aware of Jonas’s intention to seek this postponement, and why this was not communicated to them.
The inquiry’s spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.