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Master chess move or running away?: SA split over Zuma's Zondo recusal request

29 September 2020 - 09:28 By unathi nkanjeni
Former president Jacob Zuma asked deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo to 'recuse' himself from the state capture inquiry.
Former president Jacob Zuma asked deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo to 'recuse' himself from the state capture inquiry.
Image: Masi Losi

Former president Jacob Zuma's call for deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo to recuse himself from the state capture inquiry has met with mixed reactions on social media.

On Monday, Zuma sent a letter through his lawyer, Eric Mabuza, stating he will not be returning to the inquiry while Zondo is presiding over matters.

In the letter, Zuma said he was being “targeted” by the commission and asked Zondo to recuse himself because of his “biased disposition” towards him.

The former president said Zondo used mainstream media to portray him as unco-operative, after a media briefing where he addressed Zuma's dates and repeated failures to return to the commission.

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“We are instructed to seek your recusal as chairperson of the commission on the ground that our client reasonably apprehends that you have already adopted a biased disposition towards him and cannot bring an impartial mind to the issues and evidence that relate to him.

“Former president Zuma’s conclusion that the chairperson is no longer capable of exercising an independent and impartial mind is fortified by what he views as the unwarranted public statements made by the chairperson at the said media mediaing.

“The source of the chairperson’s bias against him stems from the fact that the former president and the chairperson have historical personal, family, and professional relations that ought to have been publicly disclosed by the chairperson before accepting his appointment,” read the letter to Zondo.

Zuma is set to appear before the commission from November 16 to 20, but his lawyers said he will take “no further part” in the commission until the recusal application is determined.

The commission is yet to respond to the former president's letter.

On social media, many shared different views regarding the matter. Some said Zuma's allegations were right and that Zondo appeared to need to “humiliate, insult, belittle and diminish Zuma”. Others believed that Zuma was “running away from accountability”.

Here is a snapshot of what tweeps had to say: