Zuma summons application postponed at Zondo commission

Leader of the medical team treating former president willing to meet with chair under strict confidentiality

'Where is ubuntu in all of this?' - Zuma summons application postponed at Zondo commission

14 January 2020

State capture inquiry chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has postponed an application for a summons to be issued on former president Jacob Zuma to appear before the commission between January 27 and 31.

On Tuesday, former President Jacob Zuma's counsel on Tuesday urged the commission  to extend to its client the presumption of integrity, saying Zuma's medical doctor was willing to meet with Zondo to disclose more information on Zuma's health.

"It is very important – they must try, difficult as it is - to extend to us that when we give our word to the commission, we mean what we say," advocate Thabani Masuku SC, for Zuma, said.

"We take great exception that it has come to this point that the legal team sees it fit to argue summons when they have been told that the president is sick. It tells us that there is a deep-seated antipathy against our client. On what basis is a summons application competent when the president goes for treatment?"

Zondo was set to hear an application on Tuesday morning for a summons to be issued for Zuma to appear before the commission.

While evidence leader advocate Paul Pretorius indicated that the legal team was ready to proceed, Zuma's counsel took exception to the application in it's entirety.

Instead, Zuma's legal team offered Zondo an opportunity to sit with the leader of the former president's medical team to discuss his medical condition.

"The leader of the medical team who is treating the president is willing to meet with the chair under strict confidentiality.

"That we had to come to this is unfortunate. Where is ubuntu in all of this?" he asked.

Zondo accepted the offer with "reluctance".

This comes after the former president failed to appear on at least two scheduled occasions.

Zuma first appeared before the commission in July last year, where he delivered explosive testimony, dealing with several issues, including his involvement in establishing Gupta-linked The New Age newspaper and news channel ANN7, as well as alleged plots to kill him, News24 reported.

In October, Zuma could not appear due to his commitments to his criminal trial relating to the arms deal.

The commission, in a statement, revealed that it had been informed that Zuma and his legal team were unavailable, "owing to circumstances relating

Fast forward to November last year and Zuma could not appear yet again, this time owing to an alleged illness.

The commission said that it had been "informed by the legal representatives of the former president, Mr JG Zuma, that he is ill and unable to attend the hearings scheduled for 11-15 November 2019".

The application has now been postponed to a date that is yet to be arranged, and the commission's legal team will provide a replying affidavit by January 24.

On Tuesday, the commission will resume with testimony relating to the infamous Gupta Waterkloof landing.