The chairperson of the commission of inquiry into state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, on Thursday issued a statement correcting media reports that former president Jacob Zuma was expected to appear before the commission on Monday.
“The commission wishes to correct the media reports which are to the effect that the former president, Mr Jacob Zuma, is required to appear before it during the week of 14 to 18 October 2019.
“The chairperson of the commission had initially included those dates among the dates set aside by the chairperson for the former president’s appearance before the commission, but this is no longer the position now,” the statement reads.
The dates that the commission has set aside for Zuma’s appearance are 21 to 25 October and 11 to 15 November.
“The Commission also announces that there will be no hearings on Friday, 11 October, Monday, 14 and Tuesday 15 October 2019. There will be a hearing on Wednesday, 16 and Thursday, 17 October 2019.”
The confusion in the dates Zuma is expected to appear before the commission arose after the release of an annexure to the “areas of interest”, which had been incorrectly reported to be questions sent to Zuma’s legal counsel, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, ahead of his second appearance at the inquiry. The document sent to Sikhakhane is dated July 30.
On Tuesday, Zondo lambasted a Business Day report which claimed that the commission had sent former president Jacob Zuma questions that he would be asked when he returns to the witness stand at the inquiry.
Zondo had indicated that the document which the head of the commission’s legal team, advocate Paul Pretorius, had sent to Zuma’s lawyers dealt with the areas of interest in the various affidavits that had been previously given to Zuma as affidavits from which questions would arise.
The areas of interest identified relate to the testimony of nine witnesses who gave evidence concerning Zuma.
Those witnesses include former chief executive at the Government Communications Information Systems (GCIS) Themba Maseko, former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor, former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan, former finance ministers Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordhan, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, and former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi, among others.
The commission wants to look at the history of the relationship between Zuma and Ajay and Tony Gupta and other members of the latter two’s family; whether the former president was involved in the appointment of his son Duduzane in various Gupta-linked entities, and whether the young Zuma’s appointment to these entities resulted in the financial benefit of Zuma or any of his family members.
The commission also wants to look at whether Zuma or any of his family members had financially benefited from any of the Gupta-linked entities.
Whether Zuma had knowledge of the companies and service providers involved or potentially involved in the nuclear build project, is another area of interest for the commission.
“The ownership of the uranium mine or mines related or potentially related to the” project, is yet another matter the commission will look at.
Whether Zuma had declared interests and benefits he received during his presidency to the Parliamentary Ethics Committee will also be dealt with.
“The president’s role and responsibilities in the appointment or removal of cabinet ministers, directors-general or heads of government departments, board members and executive officers of state-owned entities.”
The commission’s legal team intends to ask Zuma questions regarding matters raised by other witnesses who have or are yet to testify at the inquiry.
An agreement has been reached that Zuma will provide the commission with a statement dealing with these areas of interest.