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5 quotes you need to read from state capture chair Raymond Zondo's recusal ruling

20 November 2020 - 11:02 By cebelihle bhengu
State capture inquiry chair judge Raymond Zondo said former president Jacob Zuma's application for his recusal 'had no merit'. File image.
State capture inquiry chair judge Raymond Zondo said former president Jacob Zuma's application for his recusal 'had no merit'. File image.
Image: Alaister Russell/Sunday Times

State capture inquiry chairperson judge Raymond Zondo dismissed former president Jacob Zuma's application for his recusal at the inquiry on Thursday.

The former president wanted Zondo to recuse himself, citing, among other reasons, bias and conflict of interest resulting from his personal relationship with Zondo.

On Monday counsel for Zuma, Muzi Sikhakhane, said the former president felt “uncomfortable” with comments made by Zondo, and that he felt the inquiry sought to “punish and lynch him.” 

“I am not suggesting you've prejudged this matter in any way. I am saying to you in your comments in his absence, I want you to walk with me and look at whether a reasonable person, accused as he is, would be unreasonable to feel the forum seeks to punish him, lynch him, to agree with people who have come here to lynch him,” Sikhakhane said.

Here are five quotes from Zondo's ruling on the matter:

'Zuma and I are not friends'

“In light of the fact that the applicant does not dispute most of the facts set out in paragraph 7 of my statement, I'm of the opinion that of the undisputed facts, there was not the kind of relationship between myself and the applicant such as would disqualify me from chairing this commission, nor is it a proper ground for me to recuse myself.”

'The matter should have been raised three years ago'

"There is no sound reason the applicant raised issues of personal relations close to three years after me chairing this commission. The applicant cannot be allowed to raise this so late in the day.”

'There's nothing wrong with asking questions' 

“The commission was free to use any witnesses available as long as the applicant was afforded time and opportunity to come to deal with whatever evidence they raised. I am entitled to ask witnesses questions and seek clarification on their evidence.”

'Zuma had not completed his evidence'

“The fact of the matter is that the applicant had not completed his evidence when he left the commission in July 2019. It was agreed he would come back to continue his evidence. Since then, it is now more than a year and the commission has been trying to get the applicant to come back to the commission to continue his evidence, but the applicant has had to be compelled by way of a summons to appear before the commission.”

'Zuma's application has no merit'

“Counsel for the applicant contended that I made various comments when certain witnesses gave evidence which suggested I thought the applicant was guilty of state capture. I've read all the comments quoted in the founding affidavit, and I do not propose to refer to any one of them. I'm satisfied the applicant's contention has no merit.”

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo delivered judgement on an application for his recusal from the State Capture Commission, brought forward by former president Jacob Zuma on November 19 2020. But things took a turn after the former president left the commission during an adjournment.