Zondo has 'obsession' with Zuma and wants to use him to secure chief justice post, says JZ Foundation

Zondo is 'determined to prejudice and humiliate' the former president

23 September 2020 - 17:26 By mawande amashabalala
The Jacob Zuma Foundation has asked the state capture commission to be fair to the former president even if it 'has already found him guilty'. File photo.
The Jacob Zuma Foundation has asked the state capture commission to be fair to the former president even if it 'has already found him guilty'. File photo.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

Former president Jacob Zuma's foundation has accused deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo of using his name to position himself for the top position in the Constitutional Court — chief justice.

In a strongly worded statement on Wednesday, the Jacob Zuma Foundation took issue with Zondo’s comment at the inquiry on Monday that he would not negotiate appearance days with the former president.

It also slammed Zondo for his “obsession” with the former president.

On Monday, a day in which Zuma was billed to appear at the commission but pulled a no-show, Zondo announced new dates for Zuma to appear in November.

Zondo said the commission’s legal team had filed an application for October 9 to argue why Zuma should be compelled through a subpoena to appear before the commission.

But the foundation believes Zondo is treating Zuma harshly in an attempt to please those who have “power for now” to secure appointment as chief justice.

According to the foundation, it was disturbing that Zondo was not treating every witness in the manner he was treating Zuma.

He highlighted the case of minister of public enterprises Pravin Gordhan, who was meant to appear last month but failed to do so. Zuma said he was concerned that Zondo never made public remarks about Gordhan, who did not file an affidavit that he was unable to appear but simply sent his chief of staff.

“President Zuma has always indicated that despite his misgivings about the legality of the commission, he respects it and would co-operate,” reads the foundation statement. “However, it appears that the chairperson [Zondo] is determined to prejudice him and to humiliate him. It is clear for all to see that the chairperson has made up his mind that he will treat [former] president Zuma harshly to secure for himself future career in the highest office in the judiciary.”

The statement slammed Zondo for having reneged on a promise he made publicly the last time Zuma was meant to appear at the commission early this year. At the time, Zuma said he was unable to appear because he was receiving medical treatment in Cuba. Zondo said he would seek a meeting with Zuma’s medical team to establish privately that Zuma was indeed ill.

“He has done no such thing,” the foundation said.

The foundation added that there was no need for Zondo to comment publicly about Zuma’s excuses for non-appearance, namely preparation for his corruption and fraud criminal trial, and fearing contracting Covid-19.

“No witness, even the most arrogant, even the most petulant, have inspired the chairperson to call a media briefing merely to castigate them,” reads the statement.

In fact, according to the foundation, Zondo should have waited for a response from Zuma’s lawyers who received a letter from the commission last Friday.

“The foundation calls upon the chairperson, in dealing with the witnesses, to be fair to former president Zuma, even if he has already found him guilty,” the statement reads.

The foundation further appealed for chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who appointed Zondo to chair the commission, to reign in his second-in-command.

Without elaboration, the foundation claimed Zondo had a personal beef with Zuma and accused him of playing “to the media gallery” to settle scores.