Former President Jacob Zuma’s legal team has objected to the line of questioning at the state capture inquiry – claiming it falls outside the inquiry’s terms of reference.
Senior counsel Thabani Masuku rose to object to proceedings as Zuma was asked about the transfer of former GCIS director-general Themba Maseko after he allegedly rejected advances from the Gupta family to channel government funding to their media companies.
Zuma’s lawyers said he was being treated unfairly and ambushed into a cross-examination about issues he did not prepare to deal with.
“I think let’s be fair and stick to what this commission is about, the terms of reference, bearing in mind that Mr Zuma’s assessment of this affidavit is that it does implicate him.”
Unlike other witnesses, Zuma was invited to the commission and his legal team had rejected submitting statements as they believed he had not been implicated in any wrong doing.
Masuku said given the fact that the findings of the commission had criminal implications, the commission could not carry on questioning Zuma about phone calls and meetings when no one had accused him of corruption or fraud in the public service.
The chairperson of the commission said there was a difference between an inquiry and litigation in a court of law. He said an inquiry allowed for people to present their side of the story.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s attempts to reign in Masuku failed to appease the former president’s legal team. Further deliberations on the matter are expected in the judge’s chambers.
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