Zondo reprimands lawyer for being disruptive during proceedings

Advocate Andre Pienaar, who is representing businessman Vivien Natasen, had on three occasions objected to the questioning of his client claiming the commission was casting aspersions against him.

FILE: Deputy Chief Justice Zondo during the first public hearing on state capture allegations in Johannesburg on 20 August 2018. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Friday warned a lawyer at the state capture inquiry against being disruptive during proceedings.

Advocate Andre Pienaar, who is representing businessman Vivien Natasen, had on three occasions objected to the questioning of his client claiming the commission was casting aspersions against him.

Natasen was giving testimony related to dodgy dealings with SA Express tenders.

It all started with Pienaar interrupting proceedings accusing evidence leader Kate Hofmeyr of being biased towards his client.

“What my client’s financial statements have to do with anything is incomprehensible to me. If my colleague can explain where this line of question is going,” he said.

Then Zondo overruled his objection and ordered him to sit down.

“Have you got anything else you would want to say about your objection?” asked Zondo.

Pienaar asked if his objection was overruled and Zondo said it was and ordered him to sit down.

But Pienaar persisted, prompting Zondo to once again reprimand him.

“You don’t have a right to tell a witness who’s giving evidence whether to answer. If you think there’s a problem to a question, you make submissions to me and I make a ruling. If you don’t like the ruling, you know what your remedies are.”

The commission has been adjourned until Monday when former President Jacob Zuma is expected to appear.