Zondo: Zuma may be compelled to give evidence
State capture commission chair says former president could be called for cross-examination and to give evidence
Former president Jacob Zuma may be compelled to give evidence and be cross-examined at the state capture commission of inquiry.
This is according to the commission’s chair deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.
In an interview with eNCA, Zondo said the level of corruption in SA had reached “unacceptable proportions” and he urged South Africans from all walks of life to help bring to book those responsible by bringing evidence of state capture to the commission.
Despite the testimony of witnesses directly and indirectly implicating him, Zuma has thus far shown a dismissive attitude to the commission, maintaining that there was no need to cross-examine witnesses.
Zondo said although Zuma may be entitled to that opinion and that there was no need for him to voluntarily come before the commission, the commission reserved the right to call him to answer questions and give evidence.
“He [Zuma] may feel that he has not been implicated and therefore there is no need for him to appear before the commission. But we at the commission we are entitled to form our own view after looking at all the evidence that has been given and is still to be given … to determine whether it is necessary for him to give evidence and to answer questions,” he said.
He said Zuma's lawyers had indicated that he would co-operate when and if necessary.
Zondo said he understood that some government officials and cabinet ministers were still reluctant to come forward and divulge information on state capture, fearing being harmed or losing their jobs.
“The level of corruption in this country has reached completely unacceptable proportions. We have to do something about it.... We have to build our country to be a better country. We have to do it ourselves; nobody would do it for us,” he said.
Zondo said although his commission did not have the power to stop law-enforcement agencies from carrying out their duties and arresting individuals implicated in crime and corruption, the commission was perturbed when witnesses such as former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi were charged shortly after giving damning evidence at the commission. This was despite nothing happening to those who had been implicated in allegations of corruption and state capture but had not voluntarily come before the commission.
He said the timing of the arrests was “unacceptable” and that the commission had approached the relevant law-enforcement agencies to seek information and clarity. They were told that the arrests had nothing to with evidence tabled at the commission but were linked to other investigations.
“I was very concerned about those arrests. The timing was completely unacceptable … it is true that some people may be deterred [to come forward to the commission to give evidence] when they see something like this. But the timing was very suspicious,” he said.
Zondo said he was informed by evidence leaders that some key witnesses were reconsidering giving evidence at the commission, fearing that they would be harmed or perjure themselves by so doing.