Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the chairperson of the state capture commission, has clarified what the ’’historical’’ and “family’’ issue exactly is that former president Jacob Zuma referred to when he asked him to recuse himself.
On Thursday, Zondo released a statement and said in the early 1990s, while still practising as a lawyer (apparently around Durban), he fell in love and impregnated a certain woman who later turned out to one of the sisters of Thobeka Madiba, the estranged wife of the former president.
This was in response to a letter written by advocate Eric Mabuza in September this year, asking Zondo to recuse himself because Zuma believed he would allow their personal issues to cloud his judgement.
He said the relationship ended a few years later and that issue has not affected how he carries out his duties as DCJ.
Zondo in the statement said “To my knowledge, Mr Zuma had no relationship with Ms Thobeka Madiba in the mid-1990s. That Mr Zuma happened to marry the sister of a woman with whom I had had a relationship that ended so many years before that marriage has never had any bearing on the execution of my judicial functions in the many matters involving Mr Zuma in which I have sat as a Justice of the Constitutional Court since 2012 nor does it have any bearing on the execution of my duties as Chairperson of the Commission”.
He said, in the past, Zuma never raised an objection when he heard matters involving him.
“Indeed, in none of the many matters involving Mr Zuma in which I have sat in the past has Mr Zuma ever expressed any complaint or concern, nor has he ever brought an application for my recusal.’’
Zondo was not clear whether he would grant Zuma his wish and recuse himself when he appears before the commission later next month (November 16-20 ).
“I thought it is necessary to bring the above clarification but I do not at this stage intend to address any of the other allegations made in Mr Zuma’s attorney’s letter, as I will deal with them if and when Mr Zuma’s application for my recusal is lodged.”