By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has dismissed former president Jacob Zuma’s application for him to recuse himself from hearing the former president’s testimony.
In handing down his ruling on the matter this morning, Zondo said that there were no grounds to support Zuma's claims that the two men were friends.
Zuma had filed an application for Zondo to step aside, claiming he'd already decided that the former president was guilty.
Zondo took the commission through the historical context of the inquiry, explaining how it was set up, and by who, based on the findings of the Public Protector's report.
He also detailed the process of getting Zuma to appear before the commission up until this point.
The ruling was due to be delivered on Wednesday afternoon, but after a last-minute affidavit submitted by Zuma which Zondo needed to consider, it was set for Thursday.
Zuma’s legal team feel the former president has been targeted in the hearings, and said Zondo "is no longer capable of exercising an independent and impartial mind".
Muzi Sikhakhane, for Zuma, said at the commission on Monday that certain comments made by Zondo during proceedings made Zuma feel as though he was being unfairly persecuted.
Sikhakhane also said they were taking Zondo’s decision on his recusal on review.
He added that they would also be writing a complaint to the Judicial Services Commission, arguing that Zondo was a witness and a judge in a matter that involved him.
Sikhakhane said, just before the commission took a tea break, that they were excusing themselves from the proceedings.
The commission’s legal representative Paul Pistorius argued that the summons issued against Zuma stood and that excusing themselves would be in contempt of the summons.
It is unclear if the inquiry will now pursue criminal charges against him for being in contempt of a subpoena summons.
The commission will resume its work next week.
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Video Courtesy of ENCA.