Jacob Zuma threatens ANC enemies after graft inquiry adjourns

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Jacob Zuma's Lawyer, Muzi Sikhakhane (L) with Jacob Zuma (R)

A lawyer for Former South African President Jacob Zuma told a corruption inquiry on Friday, that Jacob Zuma would not take part in the inquiry further because he felt that he was being questioned unfairly.

“Chair, we are here today to say we will take no further part in these proceedings,” lawyer Muzi Sikhakhane told the Senior Judge overseeing the inquiry, Raymond Zondo. He said Zuma had been subject to “relentless cross-examination.”

“This animal called corruption is amorphous, we don’t know who is actually corrupt,” he added.

Jacob Zuma was ousted by the governing African National Congress (ANC) in February 2018.

He has been responding to allegations that he allowed cronies to plunder state resources, and influenced senior government appointments during his nine years in power.

He has consistently denied wrongdoing, saying the allegations against him are politically motivated. His lawyer said in a letter to the inquiry last month that Zuma believed it was prejudiced against him.

CONSEQUENCE

On Friday, South Africa’s Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo adjourned a public inquiry into state corruption, to try to find a way to persuade Former President Jacob Zuma to continue giving testimony.

Zuma’s lawyers have argued that Zuma is being questioned unfairly and have said that Zuma will not take part under those circumstances.

South Africa’s Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo

Zondo said he would meet lawyers for Zuma and the inquiry, and that he hoped he would be able to say around 1100 GMT whether proceedings could continue. Zuma’s supporters then broke into loud singing.

However, Zonda added that the Former President had agreed to continue cooperating with the inquiry via his legal team by providing written statements.

“It is contemplated within this agreement that at a certain stage the former president will come back and give evidence,” said Zonda, who then adjourned Friday’s hearing.

JACOB ZUMA’S THREAT

Former South African President Jacob Zuma threatened enemies in his ruling African National Congress (ANC) party on Friday, after securing a concession on how he is questioned at a corruption inquiry.

Former South African President Jacob Zuma

“Some say this old man is angry,” Zuma told hundreds of supporters from a stage in a park in downtown Johannesburg on Friday after the inquiry was adjourned.

“All I’m saying is people must be very careful. When I say I will say things about them, I mean it.”

​Earlier this week Zuma accused a close comrade in the liberation struggle of being a spy for the apartheid government and foreign intelligence services.

He said the ANC had been infiltrated by other spies.

Zuma will now be allowed to submit written statements to the inquiry on incidents where other witnesses have implicated him in wrongdoing, as opposed to being questioned by a legal team in public.

Zuma will return to give evidence in public at a later stage, but it is not yet clear when.

The ANC is divided into two broad factions, one loyal to Zuma and another to his successor, President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa is on a drive to clean up politics, and analysts say that if the inquiry fails to link Zuma to serious wrongdoing, it could dent the President’s credibility.

Ramaphosa suffered his own setback on Friday when South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog said he had “deliberately misled” parliament, about a donation he received for his 2017 election campaign for the ANC leadership.

State prosecutors are following the Zuma inquiry and could open cases if sufficient evidence emerges.

 

Chidi Nwoke.