South African deputy judge president admits to link to Zuma’s wife, denies conflict

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER

SOUTH Africa’s deputy judge president, Raymond Zondo, who chairs the judicial commission into state capture, has admitted to a link to the former president Jacob Zuma’s estranged wife but denied that the association constituted conflict.

Zondo disclosed today that he had a relationship with Thobeka Madiba’s sister in the 90s and that the relationship ended before Zuma married Madiba.

He was responding to a contention from Zuma, via his lawyers, that the relationship was the source of a conflict. In their letter, Zuma’s attorneys called for the recusal of Zondo, accused him of bias against the former president and gave “historical family ties” as the source.

In a statement, the head of secretariat at Zondo Commission, Professor Itumeleng Mosala said the Deputy Judge President had initially decided that he would respond to the allegations once a formal application for recusal was made. “It is now more than a month since receipt of that letter and the Commission has not received that application. In the meantime and in response to certain media enquiries and media requests for comments on the alleged “family” relations and about certain specific allegations concerning a child, the chairperson has decided to address this matter and clarify it once and for all and indicate what he thinks Mr Zuma may be referring to,” Mosala said.

THIS IS DEPUTY JUDGE PRESIDENT ZONDO’S FULL STATEMENT:


“In the mid 1990s – that is about 25 years ago – when I was in my 30s and was still in private practice as a lawyer – I got into a relationship with a certain woman out of which a child was born. That relationship ended during the 1990s. Unbeknown to anybody at the time, that woman’s sister, Ms Thobeka Madiba, was, many years after that relationship had ended, to get married to Mr Jacob Zuma. 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 had 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. 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.

“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.”