Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: ALON SKUY
Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: ALON SKUY

State capture commission chair deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo said on Monday that he accepted that former president Jacob Zuma had reservations about the inquiry.

On Monday, Zondo took the opportunity to make opening remarks during Zuma’s first appearance at the commission. The former leader has been central to allegations of state capture and corruption emerging from testimony at the commission. 

“I accept that through his lawyers, [Zuma] has indicated that he has certain reservations about the commission and that he reserves his rights in appearing before the commission,” Zondo said.

“The commission has no difficulty with this and accepts that everyone is entitled to an opinion about the commission.”

Zuma has made it clear on many occasions that he does not believe there has been state capture, and that the inquiry, which he set up, is politicised — the same argument that he has made in his corruption case.

Zuma has already suggested that he believes the commission is being “controlled” by shadowy forces, which he has yet to name. Those suspicions appear to extend to Zondo himself.

Zondo pointed out that the commission was not mandated to prove anything against a specific person, but that it was mandated to investigate and inquire into certain allegations. 

He added that Zuma would not be the only leader to appear before the commission. 

“[We will] treat all those who appear before it with respect and courtesy without compromising its mandate. It will be fair where fairness is required,” the deputy chief justice said. 

He said Zuma was expected to deal with various matters in respect to certain witnesses who had submitted statements and given evidence to the commission.

“It is anticipated that this will not be the last appearance of the former president before the commission and it may be necessary at a later stage to ask him to appear again in order to deal with other issues,” Zondo said.

Zuma has said before that he is of the belief that he has not been implicated in testimony already given at the commission.

This was despite witnesses such as former Government Communication and Information System head Themba Maseko, former ministers Barbara Hogan, Nhlanhla Nene, Ngoako Ramatlhodi and Pravin Gordhan, as well as former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor and former Ramatlhodi adviser Mahlodi Muofhe, implicating him directly or indirectly.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za