The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture chair Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has dismissed claims that he met with former president Jacob Zuma, in the chairperson’s chambers, before Zuma’s infamous walkout from the commission without the chair’s permission.
In a statement on Tuesday, the commission’s secretary Itumeleng Mosala said the commission noted certain media reports over the weekend on the matter.
“The commission wishes to make it clear that the chairperson did not have any meeting with Mr Jacob Zuma whether before or after his walk-out from the commission proceedings. Advocate Paul Pretorius SC was also never part of any meeting with Mr Zuma,” Mosala said.
Mosala continued to explain that: “If Mr Zuma had gone to the chairperson’s chambers at the venue of the hearing before he walked out, this would have been captured on camera because he would have been seen going towards the door that leads to the chairperson’s chambers.
“That is the door from which the chairperson is always seen entering the venue of the hearing every day.
“If anybody watches the commission proceedings of the 19th of November 2020, they will not see Mr Zuma walking towards the door that leads to the chairperson’s chambers.”
In November last year, after Zondo delivered his ruling dismissing Zuma’s application for the commission’s chair to recuse himself from the proceedings, the former president’s legal counsel, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, said they would excuse themselves from the proceedings to consider Zondo’s judgment.
However, the commission’s advocate Paul Pretorius pointed out that if Zuma excused himself from the commission without Zondo’s permission he would be acting unlawfully and in defiance of the summons for him to appear at the inquiry.
On the day, Zondo was notified after the tea break that Zuma had left the commission, which left him dismayed, saying it was a “serious matter”.
A couple of days later, Zondo announced that a criminal charge would be laid against Zuma for his walkout from the commission.
Now the walkout is being investigated by the Hawks after it was confirmed that a case of contravening the Commissions Act was opened at the Hillbrow Police Station.
Zuma could be subjected to a penalty or the commission could obtain a warrant of arrest against him after he left the commission’s proceedings without asking for Zondo’s permission.