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Zuma to provide written statements on areas of interest in state capture probe

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said former President Jacob Zuma would provide written statements and return to the inquiry at a date yet to be determined.

Former President Jacob Zuma at the state capture commission on 19 July 2019. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - It appeared that the dramatic events at the state capture commission on Friday could have been avoided had Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo been appraised of the legal teams’ deadlock on time.

Zondo decried how he was blindsided by the legal minds after their failure to inform him of their disagreement.

That impasse saw former President Jacob Zuma briefly withdraw his participation in the commission.

The animosity between Zuma’s legal counsel and the commission’s evidence leader Paul Pretorius has been glaring since his first appearance on Monday.

Things took a turn for the worst on Wednesday when Zuma complained he was being dealt with unfairly, forcing Zondo to order the legal teams to confer until a solution was found.

But when they could not agree, Zondo was not informed. “I was still waiting to be informed by the two legal teams.”

The chair, along with everyone else, was caught off guard and only found out on Friday morning that Zuma wanted to pull out of the commission, much to his disappointment.

Nonetheless, all it took to resolve the impasse was an instruction from Zondo that the parties meet in his chambers, a discussion that he said took 10 minutes to resolve the dispute.

“There was really no difficulty in finding a solution once I met with both teams.”

Before that, Zuma’s legal counsel had accused the commission of engaging in a quasi-litigation, warning that there was something wrong with the proceedings.

Zondo added that Zuma would provide written statements on areas of interest for the inquiry's legal team and return to the inquiry at a date yet to be determined.

“The discussions have resulted in an agreement that the decision that the decision that the former president will no longer participate in proceedings is withdrawn and that the former president has indicated that he wishes to continue to cooperate.”

Zuma said he would return to the inquiry when required.

There was an expectation that the former president’s appearance at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry would be eventful, and so it was, with the former president pulling out all the stops on Friday.

When given a chance to address the commission, Zuma said he was happy that the proceedings could move forward after his lawyers and the commission’s counsel discussed his concerns Zondo’s chambers.

The inquiry chairperson gave the legal counsel for Zuma and the commission two weeks to work out a way forward after reaching an agreement on how Zuma would be treated.

SUPPORTERS

Zuma addressed his supporters outside the commission after proceedings on Friday, where he said the inquiry was a set up to punish him.

He has also lashed out at Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela for unfairly targeting him.

Zuma was adamant that he was living in fear after uncovering a number of threats against his life.

He said if he was continually provoked, he would name and shame those who wanted to take him out.

But for now, he said he would not name the conspirators. The former president said at the right moment, he would reveal all the evidence he had collected on the alleged attempts.

WATCH: Zuma makes U-turn on state capture inquiry participation

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