Zuma doesn’t want delays - but needs more time
This is because he wants to make a meaningful contribution to the State Capture Inquiry, his lawyer says
Former president Jacob Zuma’s lawyers have asked for more time to peruse documentation that will help them to prepare a defence against those accusing their client of enabling state capture.The commission of inquiry into state capture, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, got under way in Parktown on Monday, with legal teams acting on behalf of those implicated in state capture asking for more time to prepare.
Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane SC, appearing for Zuma, said their intention was not to stall the proceedings, but they wanted a fair process in order to prepare a strong defence for their client.
“We want to make it clear that we do not want to delay the process, but what has really made it difficult for us is that we have raised questions to obtain certain documents because we want to make a meaningful participation before the inquiry,” said Sikhakhane.Sikhakhane said his team received three notices that relate to former cabinet spokesman Themba Maseko, former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor and acting cabinet spokeswoman Phumla Williams, including a 103-page document detailing allegations of how Zuma instructed them to cooperate with the Guptas.
The Sunday Times reported that Zondo had written to Zuma, asking him to say whether he used information he came across as head of state to enrich himself and the Gupta family.
Zuma has always denied that he used his position to enrich himself and the Guptas.
Also making a request for more time was Jaap Cilliers SC, instructed to act on behalf of arms deal fixer Fana Hlongwane, who has been accused of facilitating a meeting between the Guptas and former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas at a Sandton hotel in 2017.
Dawie Joubert, who appeared together with Mike Hellens SC on behalf of Ajay Gupta in relation to the evidence that Jonas might give, said: “We are awaiting instructions on behalf of Mr Duduzane Zuma and Mr Rajesh Gupta, also in relation to the evidence of Mr Jonas. Hopefully, early next week we will get clarification on that.”
Zondo pleaded with officials in municipalities and those in national government departments, as well as members of the public who might have information on state capture, to come forward with evidence because it would help the commission to run smoothly.
“We all know there are many people out there who have evidence and who know some of the things that were happening,” he said.
Acting chief procurement officer at the Treasury, Ndleleni Willie Mathebula, is expected to be the first witnesses to testify before the commission on Tuesday morning.
Paul Pretorius SC, the head of legal services for the inquiry, said Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene were among those due to testify.