The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture will kick off the year with an application by the Commission’s legal team for an order authorising a summons for former president Jacob Zuma to appear from the 27th to 31st of January.
Commission Chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo will hear on Tuesday how Zuma has failed on several occasions to appear before the commission as planned due to reported ill health – hence the bid for a subpoena to compel his to return to the inquiry.
Besides the former President, the Commission is set to in the coming months hear testimony from a number of high profile people including ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa with the probe expected to only deliver its final report early next year.
For three days in July last year, former Zuma testified to the State Capture Commission about a long-standing conspiracy to politically destroy and ultimately kill him.
He gave shocking testimony about a number of his comrades – notably former Ministers Ngoako Ramatlhodi and Siphiwe Nyanda’s complicity with the former apartheid government.
The proceedings were tense with Zuma’s legal team repeatedly complaining about what it saw as misplaced attempts to cross-examine their client by the Commission’s legal team contrary to the Commission’s rule.
Zuma’s Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane said at the time: “And now I need him to make up his mind whether he wants to be cross-examined because it is clear it’s just been confirmed he is being cross-examined Chair all I am asking Chair because I advised my client to respect this process come here cooperate with it. I want to consider that position because I think I advised him in bona fide but I do not think I was right and I would like him to consider his position because it is now clear to me he is being cross-examined on the version, not his version on what people said.”
Zuma has been implicated in a number of witnesses’ testimonies including former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, former Government Communication’s Head Themba Maseko and former Intelligence Chief Mo Shaik, amongst others. Ultimately, a deal was made between the Commission and Zuma’s legal teams to facilitate Zuma’s continued participation.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said: “The commission’s legal team will indicate to his legal team what the commission’s areas of interests are in each witness’ statement or affidavit on which the commission would like the former President to testify and that the former President would then provide through his legal team statements that indicate what he has to say on the incidents or areas of interests that will have been pointed out by the Commission’s legal team.”
However, it seems that the Commission has since been unable to pin the former President down on a date to appear.
In December, he missed a second appearance on the grounds of ill-health.
The application for a subpoena for him to appear may lay the matter to rest. In the coming months a number of other high profile witnesses are expected to take the stand including former Correctional Services Commissioner Linda Mti, Former MEC for Agriculture in the Free State and current Chairperson of Parliament committee on Transport, Mosebenzi Zwane and ultimately ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Commission is expected to conclude oral evidence in the middle of 2020, with a final report expected to be delivered to President Ramaphosa beginning of 2021.