Lawyers Argue Over Questioning at S. African Probe: Zuma Update
(Bloomberg) -- Former South African President Jacob Zuma is testifying for a second day before a judicial panel that’s investigating whether he consented to and benefited from widespread looting during his nine-year rule.
- Zuma has labeled the corruption allegations against him a conspiracy and part of a campaign to vilify him.
- Zuma denied there was anything untoward in his dealings with members of the Gupta family, who were alleged to have been the kingpins behind the looting of state funds.
- Zuma accused Ngoako Ramatlhodi, his former cabinet minister, of being an apartheid-era spy. Ramatlhodi denied the allegation.
Here are the latest developments, updated throughout the day. (Time-stamps are local time in Johannesburg.)
Legal Wrangling (12:30 p.m.)
Zuma’s lawyer objected to questions posed by the judicial panel’s lawyers, saying their client was being subjected to cross-examination about meetings he never attended and phone calls he made years ago, and he could only be asked to respond to allegations of wrongdoing that had been leveled against him.
Paul Pretorius, the head of the panel’s legal team, rejected the argument, saying Zuma needed to give his version of events. Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who heads the panel, said the lawyers had agreed on a line of questioning that would ensure Zuma wasn’t treated unfairly and proceedings could continue.
Zuma Ally (12:15 p.m.)
Ace Magashule, the secretary-general of the ruling African National Congress and a close Zuma ally, is attending the hearings. Asked about claims Zuma made on Monday that Ramatlhodi was an apartheid-era spy, Magashule said: “They are serious, you can’t just ignore them. Jacob Zuma was the chief of intelligence in the ANC so he will know even things that we didn’t know.”
Death Threats (10:03 a.m.)
Zuma starts his testimony by alleging that he’s received a death threat following his appearance at the commission on Monday. Zuma said his personal assistant received a call overnight from an unidentified person who threatened to “kill him and his children and those around him.”
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