After postponing his decision on former president Jacob Zuma’s application to recuse himself, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo will finally deliver his ruling on Thursday, 19 November 2020. However, if the past few days have been anything to go by, maybe not.
Zondo was initially set to announce his decision on Tuesday, a day after Zuma’s lawyer advocate Muzi Sikhakhane and evidence leader advocate Paul Pretorius presented their arguments. Zondo then sought a postponement to Wednesday, saying he had documents to go through before arriving at a decision.
If all goes as planned, Zondo will deliver the ruling at 10:00.
“This morning Mr Zuma furnished the Commission with a statement/affidavit which the Chairperson needs to consider. In light of this, the Chairperson will no longer deliver the ruling at 15:00 but will do so at 10:00 tomorrow,” he said.
Zuma: ‘I dispute that we were never friends’
Zuma had filed a new affidavit, in which he had disputed Zondo’s denial of their ‘friendship’ – a claim which lies at the heart of the former president’s application. Zuma maintains Zondo cannot preside over the proceedings as he is conflicted – they’re friends and he fathered a lovechild with his sister-in-law. While Zondo has admitted to the latter, he denies being friends with Msholozi.
“Though Mr Zuma and I have a cordial relationship, Mr Zuma’s statement that we are friends is not recorded accurately. He has never been to any of my residences and I have never invited him,” Zondo said in his opening statement on Monday.
Zuma countered, saying in part:
“While the Chairperson is at pains to suggest that I was neither his friend nor a person of influence and/or in government, he however had to come to me to discuss a matter he considered to be of public importance”
“The Chairperson fails to state why he would discuss a matter of public importance with a person who was neither his friend nor a person in government or person of influence.”
Former president Jacob Zuma
The former president said they had spoken about how their friendship, if not managed properly, could jeopardise Zondo’s judicial ambitions. The discussion had apparently occurred after he was appointed to the bench.
Zondo was appointed as a judge of the Labour Court in 1997 and became deputy chief justice in 2017, replacing Dikgang Moseneke, under Zuma’s administration.