- Former president Jacob Zuma won't be attending the State Capture Inquiry as planned
- The ex-president's lawyer claims that Zuma is too busy preparing ahead of his corruption trial
- Zuma was expected to return after his first appearance got off to a rocky start last year
Former president Jacob Zuma won't be making his planned return to the State Capture Inquiry.
Eric Mabuza, who represents the politician, claims that Zuma is far too busy preparing for his corruption trial.
Mabuza further claims that the dates for the ex-president's appearance had been set without any communication from the Zondo Inquiry.
The appearance had been set for next week after Zuma had postponed due to ill health earlier this year, reports eNCA. Zuma's upcoming corruption trial relates to allegations that Thales, an arms company, had bribed the former president in exchange for protection over a decade ago.
The trial has dragged with both the state prosecutor and Zuma's legal team accusing the other side of deliberately delaying proceedings. Zuma had tried, in vain, to obtain a permanent stay of prosecution in the matter which the ex-president claims is politically motivated.
Earlier, Briefly.co.za had reported that Zuma's first appearance before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo had been strained to say the least.
The Inquiry had eventually agreed to allow Zuma to return at a later date as well as to submit the intended questions ahead of time in order to allow his legal team the opportunity to prepare ahead of time.
Zuma's anticipated return to the Commission earlier this year had been delayed due to Zuma's ill health and earned him a stern telling-off in the process.
Kwezi Shabalala, the acting secretary at the State Capture Inquiry, had issued a response to these claims. The commission, chaired by Zondo, says that the former president has 'failed or refused' to:
- Abide by the directives issued by Zondo
- Deliver an affidavit containing his response to areas of interest (requested in July 2019)
- Appear at scheduled hearings
- Approach the inquiry for rulings 'excusing non-compliance with the directives'
Shabalala detailed how Zuma's failure to appear before the inquiry resulted in the loss of three weeks' worth of hearing time. The inquiry's team first issued Zuma with a notice of his implication back in 2018 but now Shabalala says:
“In respect of some 23 notices so issued, Mr Zuma has declined to make any application to put his own version in response to the allegations made against him and concerning him and to cross-examine the relevant witnesses."
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