Zuma runs to JSC after Zondo recusal rejection

Former president Jacob Zuma at the State Capture Commission in Braamfontein on 19 November 2020. Picture: Neil McCartney

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has dismissed Jacob Zuma’s application for him to recuse himself as state capture commission chair but the former president isn’t going down without a fight.

The Citizen reports, his advocate, Muzi Sikhakhane, on Thursday morning said his instructions were to launch a review of Zondo’s ruling as well as to lodge a complaint about him with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

“You have become a judge in the disputes that involve yourself in that you determine disputes that arise in matters that include you,” Sikhakhane said to Zondo.

“And in so far as the issue of you becoming a judge in your own matter – which on its own is a ground Mr Zuma’s mentioned – I want to say we’ve also been instructed to lodge a complaint about you in that regard to the JSC”.

Zuma filed his recusal application last week, after Zondo had ordered he be subpoenaed to appear before him at the commission.

READ MORE: Zondo dismisses Zuma’s recusal application

Zuma last year appeared for five days before withdrawing his co-operation. He eventually capitulated but was then a no-show at subsequent scheduled appearances – with his lawyers blaming his ill-health and saying he was busy preparing for his upcoming criminal trial in KwaZulu-Natal – prompting the subpoena.

In his application for Zondo’s recusal, Zuma described the pair’s relationship as a “personal” one – going so far as to say they had been “friends”.

But before it came before him for arguments on Monday morning, Zondo delivered a statement in response – strongly denying Zuma’s claims.

Zuma retaliated with an affidavit he submitted to the commission on Wednesday, standing by his claims.

But Zondo on Thursday said for the most part, Zuma’s affidavit did not place in dispute his own statement and that on the undisputed facts, then, they did not have the kind of relationship that would disqualify the deputy chief justice from chairing the commission.

“In any event, I am of the opinion that if the applicant was of the opinion I should not chair this commission, when the chief justice gave him my name he should have raised the matter with the chief justice,” he added, highlighting that it was Zuma himself who had appointed Zondo, after Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng had selected him.

Bernadette Wicks / The Citizen