Johannesburg — Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was left stunned yesterday when former South African President Jacob Zuma excused himself from the commission without his permission.
Zondo was forced to adjourn until Monday as Zuma left the building during a tea break.
Zondo said it was a pity Zuma had left the commission without being granted permission.
Earlier, Zondo had dismissed Zuma’s application for him to recuse himself from proceedings when he testified.
Zuma, through his legal representative, advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, told the commission he would be taking the matter on review and his client would leave the proceedings. He also said they would lay a complaint against Zondo at the Judicial Services Commission.
Evidence leader advocate Paul Pretorius wanted proceedings against Zuma to continue as he had been summoned to attend, and asked Zondo to rule on the matter.
Sikhakhane also said they wanted to be excused from the proceedings, but that was objected to by Pretorius, who said the onus was on Zondo to make such a ruling.
Zuma left the court before Zondo could deliver his ruling.
Meanwhile, Zuma has vowed to challenge the dismissal of his recusal application in the High Court.
Zondo delivered his verdict yesterday, saying Zuma’s application lacked the test of a reasonable apprehension of bias against him.
Zondo also rejected Zuma’s version that he visited him at his official residence in Durban a few days after his appointment as a head of the Commission of Inquiry into State capture.
In an affidavit, submitted to the commission on Wednesday, Zuma said Zondo’s visit to his official residence was part of a continuation of their friendship, but Zondo denied it.
He also said Zuma failed to lead evidence showing he was biased against him, including insinuations that he treated various witnesses who allegedly implicated him to State capture such as
Public Enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan and others with kid gloves.
The judge also bemoaned the fact that Zuma ignored various directives issued by him to appear before the commission to answer to several witnesses who implicated him in State capture.