Former president Jacob Zuma appears before the Zondo commission on July 19 2019. Picture: REUTERS/MIKE HUTCHINGS
Former president Jacob Zuma appears before the Zondo commission on July 19 2019. Picture: REUTERS/MIKE HUTCHINGS

Former president Jacob Zuma will no longer appear before the state capture inquiry next week.

The commission said on Tuesday it had been informed by Zuma's the legal representatives that he was ill and unable to attend the hearings scheduled for November 11 -15.

Dates for further hearings would  be communicated in due course, it said.

Zuma was originally due to appear on October 21, but the commission was informed that the former president and his legal representatives were unavailable because of circumstances relating to his criminal trial. 

Zuma appeared in the Pietermaritzberg high court in October on graft charges relating to the multibillion-rand arms deal. He informed the court that he would be appealing against the dismissal of his application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

Zuma's application for leave to appeal is expected to be heard on November 22.

At his first appearance at the commission in July, Zuma described an almost 30-year plot to remove him from office and kill him. He claimed that some of his own ANC comrades were apartheid spies working with intelligence agencies to implement the plot.

Zuma was confident while making his statement, mapping out the plot against him, but his demeanour changed once the commission’s head of legal, Paul Pretorius, started questioning him. The former president was evasive, and at times seemed irritated that he was even being questioned, complaining that it was more of a cross-examination.

The inquiry has now given the former president a document with “areas of interest” that he will need to address at his next appearance. This was as a result of an agreement reached between Zuma's lawyers and the commission. 

Zuma has yet to provide an affidavit detailing his response to the topics he has been asked to address. Key among them are his involvement in a proposed nuclear deal with Russia and his firing of former finance ministers Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordhan.

The dismissal of the two sent the rand into free fall. The political climate at the time contributed to SA's losing its investment-grade rating from two of the three major ratings agencies, raising borrowing costs across the economy.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za