Zondo: There’s no reason to give Gupta brothers special treatment

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo dismissed an application by the Gupta brothers to cross-examine witnesses at the state capture commission of inquiry.

FILE: A screengrab of deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo says there’s no reason to give the Gupta brothers special treatment when they’re not prepared to testify on the South African soil.

Zondo dismissed their application to cross-examine witnesses at the state capture commission of inquiry.

He did, however, grant former President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, leave to cross-examine witnesses who’ve implicated him at the hearings.

Zondo made it clear that because Duduzane Zuma is now willing to give evidence at the inquiry, he’ll also be given the opportunity to cross-examine Mcebisi Jonas, who implicated him.

WATCH: Inquiry: Guptas' application to cross-examine witnesses dismissed

However, Zondo didn’t afford Ajay and Rajesh Gupta the same opportunity because they aren’t willing to testify in South Africa.

“As long as they’re not prepared to personally and physically appear before the commission, where this commission can exercise its powers over them, their application cannot be granted.”

Zondo says he will reconsider his decision if the Guptas decide to give evidence in person at the inquiry.

The commission resumes on Monday with testimony expected from banking representatives who closed the Guptas' accounts.

GUPTAS’ VERSION OF EVENTS

Zondo says if South Africans don't get to hear the Guptas’ version of events, it's because the family has decided to turn their backs on the country.

The commission is slowly working its way through allegations of looting, abuse of power and violations of government processes to benefit the Guptas and others linked to former president Zuma.

The Guptas have argued that they won't return to South Africa to testify before the commission because they fear being arrested by the Hawks who they've labelled “an incompetent embarrassment to the country”.

Zondo says he doesn't believe there's a valid reason for them to stay away.

“If the evidence of Mr Ajay and Rajesh Gupta does not get heard by this commission, and if their side of the story does not get told to this commission, it will primarily be because they elected not to return to this country.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)