Johannesburg – The Zondo commission’s legal team plans to argue for former president Jacob Zuma to be subpoenaed to appear before the inquiry following his lawyer’s requests his appearance be postponed yet again.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the chairperson of the state capture inquiry, gave a brief update on Zuma’s appearance On Monday.
Zondo appeared stern and firm as he recapped that Zuma’s second appearance at the inquiry had been scheduled for this week.
Zuma’s lawyers wrote to the commission earlier this month stating he would not appear at the inquiry for several reasons. One of the reasons was that Zuma was preparing for his corruption trial, another was that he was old and had been advised by his doctors to decrease his travelling because of his poor health.
And, in an unusual move, the former president’s legal team also demanded any further dates for Zuma’s appearance had to be negotiated with him.
Zondo said he would not comment on these reasons provided by Zuma. He said what has been decided was the date for when the commission’s legal team would be allowed to argue for a subpoena to be issued against Zuma to compel him to appear before the inquiry.
That date has been set for October 9 at 9am.
Zondo said this application hearing will be heard whether Zuma’s lawyers are present or not. He said they had been notified of the application and were free to argue against it.
On Zuma’s requests that the dates for his appearance be negotiated with him, Zondo made it clear the commission did not negotiate appearance dates.
The inquiry’s rules are clear that if a witness cannot appear on a determined date, he or she has the right to apply for a postponement and it is up to Zondo to decide whether the reasons submitted meet the threshold for a postponement.
Zondo said Zuma’s testimony has now been scheduled for November 16 to 20.
Zuma first made an appearance at the inquiry in July 2019.
He claimed he has always faced a political campaign to smear his name.
Since that first appearance, Zuma has avoided another appearance at the inquiry since November last year.
He has cited his ill health as the reason why he was unable to wrap up his testimony at the inquiry.