PRETORIA – The Jacob Zuma Foundation on Wednesday hit back at the State Capture Inquiry chairperson, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, accusing him of being selective.
The Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Mhlanganyelwa Zuma Foundation said it noted with dismay, Zondo’s utterances during a press conference “designed to humiliate President Zuma and his attorneys”.
During the televised press conference earlier this week, Zondo announced he was not willing to negotiate appearance dates with Zuma or his lawyers and set November 16-20 this year as the time the former president should appear before the commission.
He said the appearance would allow Zuma to respond to all those who have implicated him while testifying before the commission.
The Jacob Zuma Foundation on Wednesday said Zondo made unwarranted attacks on the former president.
“His attacks on president Zuma and his legal representatives was absolutely unjustified and prejudicial. The chairperson lacks this courage when faced with the open defiance by certain people, who have refused to appear before the commission.
“He has not called a press conference to respond to Minister Pravin Jamnandas Gordhan when he failed even to file an affidavit to explain his non appearance,” the Foundation said.
“This inconsistency and fear of the powerful is not expected from the man [Zondo] who occupies the second highest office in the judiciary. The Foundation expresses its disappointment at the chairperson’s obsession with president Zuma.”
The Foundation said Zondo’s media address was “ill-advised and utterly inappropriate” for a person of his seniority in the judiciary.
“This comes after his unprecedented and prejudicial statements he made in his exchange with Mr Vincent Smith, wherein he made unwarranted conclusions about president Zuma in his absence, publicly insinuating that he was guilty or part of state capture,” the Foundation hit back.
“During his media conference, the chairperson omitted to mention that the very instructions regarding the date of 9 October 2020 and 16-20 November 2020 were only communicated to president Zuma’s attorneys on Friday, 18 September 2020.
“Unprovoked, the chairperson calls the press conference, insinuating that President Zuma or his lawyers have defied him when they have not even responded to the letter of 18 September 2020.”
The Jacob Zuma Foundation said it is “regrettable, though not surprising”, that Zondo acted in that manner, dealing with the matter “through the media”.
“We respect the judiciary, but remind the chairperson that he is not above the law himself and that he must be consistent in how he deals with witnesses and implicated persons.
“No witness, even the most arrogant and the most petulant, have inspired the chairperson to call a media briefing merely to castigate them. No race, class or position in government should guarantee any witness the chairperson’s docility,” said the aggrieved Foundation.
It said Zondo could have waited for Zuma’s legal representatives to respond to his instructions that only came on Friday before his “hastened media briefing on Monday”.
African News Agency