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Zuma: Unfortunate move not to cross-examine witnesses seen as non-cooperation

Jacob Zuma's lawyers indicated last week that they would not be applying to cross-examine witnesses at the state capture inquiry because he doesn't believe he's been implicated.

FILE: Former President Jacob Zuma addressing supporters following his appearance at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 27 July, 2018. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Former President Jacob Zuma says it's unfortunate that his decision not to apply to cross-examine witnesses at the state capture inquiry is misunderstood as non-cooperation.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has requested that Zuma's lawyers submit his side of the story in an affidavit.

Former African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament Vytjie Mentor and former communications boss Themba Maseko have testified that Zuma was directly involved with the Guptas and tried to persuade them to assist the family.

Zuma's lawyers indicated last week that they would not be applying to cross-examine witnesses at the state capture inquiry because he doesn't believe he's been implicated.

In a statement released on Thursday night, Zuma says he supports the commission and wants to participate meaningfully and therefore will consult with his legal team before responding to the Zondo commission's request.

This week the former president again denied the existence of state capture while addressing students in the Eastern Cape. He described the term as a "politically decorated expression."

But Zondo made it clear that evidence from Mentor and Maseko required the commission to ask more questions and therefore wants Zuma to give his version of events.

“I’ve indicated my wish that he could put his version in regard to those aspects in an affidavit.”

The commission resumes on Monday with testimony expected from banking representatives who closed the Gupta's account.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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