Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has criticised the Jacob Zuma Foundation’s decision to name Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi in its latest statement.
The foundation released a statement on Friday supporting former president Jacob Zuma’s decision to walk out of of the Zondo Commission without chairperson Raymond Zondo’s permission, claiming Zuma was facing criminal proceedings plotted by Zondo, assisted by Ngcukaitobi.
The Foundation further questioned the presence of Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi in Zondo’s chambers on Thursday.
“We are also gravely concerned at the reports that when Zuma’s legal team went to see the chairperson in chambers, they found the chairperson with Ngcukaitobi SC, whose role in the chairperson’s chambers was not explained. It is disturbing that the chairperson allowed such irregularities to occur in this matter,” reads the statement.
“We call on all supporters of Zuma as he faces criminal proceedings being plotted by the evidence leaders and the chairperson irregularly assisted by Ngcukaitobi SC, who also represents other parties appearing before the same commission.”
But the EFF leader says the foundation should know better than to expose lawyers to danger by naming them.
“Citing advocates/lawyers in a matter which involves their client is both irresponsible and exposes advocates to unnecessary danger. The JZ Foundation and the people who write their statements – should know better,” Malema said.
The National Association of Democratic Lawyers has also defended Ngcukaitobi and Advocate Paul Pretorius SC, following the foundation’s statement.
“Apart from being devoid of fact and logic, these attacks are also unfortunate. We trust that the foundation will in due course reflect on this and issue proper retractions and apologies,” it said
Zuma left the commission without Zondo’s permission after his application for the chairperson to recuse himself was dismissed.
The former president said the two were friends, claims denied by Zondo.
Zuma’s lawyer, Advocate Muzi Sikhakane SC, told Zondo that he would be biased against his client. Sikhakhane threatened to escalate their complaints to the Judicial Service Commission after the application was dismissed on Thursday.
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“We stand by President Zuma and commend him for his firm stance of walking away from the Commission. It is indeed a comedy of errors, floundering from one error to the next,” the statement read.
“We commend President Zuma for risking it all in order not to legitimise an irregular process disguised as a legitimate Commission.”
Meanwhile, civil society organisations have called on the Zondo to deal decisively with Zuma.