Will Zondo recuse himself? DCJ decides to sleep on ‘major decision’

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo will make a decision on whether he should recuse himself from the State Capture Inquiry on Tuesday morning, follow a day of intense deliberations at the panel’s HQ. Advocates representing both the Commission and the long-sought witness, Jacob Zuma. did battle earlier today – but failed to reach a conclusion.

Will Raymond Zondo recuse himself from the State Capture Inquiry?

Paul Pretorius went into bat for DCJ Zondo and tore strips off of the argument presented by Zuma’s legal counsel. The veteran legal eagle argued that the opposing team failed to make a coherent argument. He also stated that accusations of ‘bias’ made against the head of the State Capture Inquiry were ‘unfounded’:

“It was really difficult to draw the line between what the case is about. Sikhakhane did not give proof that Zondo was in fact biased. The inquiry is unlike a civil matter, where one can remain silent and not testify. In short, Mr. Zuma must be heard. I don’t understand why that constitutes as being bias.”

“Mr. Zondo, You are the investigator, not the legal team. The legal team is there to assist you. But there’s no evidence to show Zondo’s opinion on Zuma is predetermined – but in fact, the opposite is true. We searched in vain for evidence of public hostility against Zuma. The former president is central to the inquiry – something they don’t seem to understand.”

Paul Pretorius on the application to recuse DCJ Zondo

What Zuma’s lawyers are arguing

Musi Sikhakhane, who fought tooth and nail to make a desperate case for Zondo’s recusal, took exception to some of the points made by Pretorius, claiming that some of the aspersions he made were ‘prejudiced’. The State Capture Inquiry adjourned at this point, and we resume again at 10:00 on Tuesday 17 November.

“We were doing well, Mr Zondo, you did not patronise me. I take exception to what Mr. Pretorius said. That prejudice offends me. He keeps telling me there are things I don’t understand. He’s making false allegations, not me. He reckons we are peddling conspiracies – that is also a lie, all I have done is put to you what is in the mind of my client.”

Musi Sikhakhane