Former President Jacob Zuma at the State Capture Inquiry.

STAFF REPORTER

DEPUTY Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is expected to announce his decision on whether he will remain as chairperson of the State Capture Inquiry on Thursday morning at 10am.

Zuma has made an urgent application to have Zondo recused, because he believes Zondo is ‘biased’ and he will therefore not receive a fair hearing during State Capture proceedings.

Responding to Zuma’s application during Monday’s hearing, Zondo did not directly address the accusation that he was biased but said any suggestion he had a personal friendship with Zuma was “inaccurate” and “untrue”.

However, in a new affidavit on Wednesday, the former president disputed Zondo’s version of events, arguing that the two were indeed friends and shared conversations at his Forest Town house in Johannesburg and at his official residence in Durban.

“I have noted the Chairperson while accepting that our relationship was cordial and pleasant, disputes that we were friends. I state in paragraph 2 of my founding affidavit that ‘we continued to relate as friends and continue to meet at social and government functions,” said Zuma.

“I persist with this assertion, In fact, in our discussion at my residence in Forest Town to which I refer in paragraph 29 of my founding affidavit, we discussed, amongst other things, how our friendship, if not managed properly, could jeopardise his judicial ambitions or rise within the ranks of the judiciary.”

Zuma further claims Zondo’s statement that he could not have had an influence on his career as false.

Zuma said he was part of serious discussions within the ANC and together with the late Nelson Mandela, and he talks about his contribution on which black legal practitioners should be appointed to top positions within the judiciary.

“I understand that in referring to me as ‘only an MEC’ the Chairperson is attempting to downplay my role in order to demonstrate that he couldn’t have relied on me for ascendancy,” reads the affidavit.

“It is common cause that at the time I was also the National Chairperson of the ANC and Provincial Chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu Natal. These were indeed positions of influence within the ruling party. Accordingly, his attempt to communicate that I was significant in the national political arena is untrue.”

Zuma was ousted by the ANC NEC in February 2018, and his successor President Cyril Ramaphosa has been trying to clean up the ANC’s image and revive investor confidence.

Zuma, who appeared at the inquiry in July 2019 but has declined to return and now says Zondo is biased against him and wants to publicly humiliate him, has denied that he broke the law with the Guptas.

The Guptas have refuted allegations of wrongdoing.

The family left South Africa around the time Zuma was ousted.

The inquiry’s lawyers have tried to get Zuma to appear to answer more questions but he has not done so.

Zuma has previously said through his lawyers that he was unable to attend the inquiry. His reasons have included that he was preparing for a criminal trial and that his doctors had advised him to limit his movements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(SOURCE: INSIDE POLITICS)

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