Zondo: Zuma need not yet attend inquiry for health reasons

Zuma failed to appear last year, saying he was ill after he had requested a postponement to deal with his corruption case.

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

CAPE TOWN - Former President Jacob Zuma will not immediately be issued with a summons to appear before the state capture inquiry next month after his legal team argued that he will be undergoing intense medical treatment overseas and won’t be available before March.

The inquiry, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, resumed its work on Tuesday.

First up on the agenda was the application by the commission’s lawyers for a summons to be issued to compel the former head of state to appear before it at the end of this month, from 27-31 January.

Zondo's now ruled the application be adjourned until a later date.

Zuma’s legal team told the commission that Zuma leaves next week for medical treatment and won’t be available to testify this month.

Advocate Thabani Masuku SC also told the commission that the head of Zuma’s medical team was prepared to discuss his health issues with him behind closed doors in chambers.

Masuku also argued that Zuma’s integrity should be assumed and that he was not “playing games” with the commission.

Zuma pleaded ill-health when he failed to testify before the commission late last year in November.

The head of the inquiry’s legal team, advocate Paul Pretorius, finally conceded: “We learnt yesterday at 4pm of the medical condition of Mr Zuma. We do not persist in seeking summons for the dates dictated by you, chair, but we will seek the issue of summons for a later date that is appropriate.”

The inquiry adjourned briefly for legal counsel from both sides to meet with the chairperson, Zondo, in his chambers.