Candidate Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, by proxy of the State Capture Inquiry, wholly denied allegations levelled against him by national corrections boss Arthur Fraser in a letter sent to the Judicial Services Committee (JSC).
Zondo hits back at ‘dishonest’ Fraser
The inquiry noted in a statement that despite Zondo’s invitation to all deputies and ministers to come forward and provide the commission with their knowledge and/or account of state capture, Fraser, a renowned ally of former president Jacob Zuma, failed to avail himself.
Quoting section 3.3 of the commission’s rules, Zondo explained that those implicated by a witness at the inquiry have the right to apply for leave to give evidence “and the application is decided by the chairperson.”
“Mr Fraser has never submitted an application to the commission for leave to give evidence. It is not clear why, if Mr Fraser felt that he had been implicated by certain witnesses in wrongdoing, he did not follow the rules and apply for leave to testify,” the statement noted.
This contradicts claims made by the corrections head in his letter, where he provided motivation for why Zondo is not a fit and proper candidate to succeed retired Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
“Despite my repeated requests to be given an opportunity to appear before him in order to state my version and to defend myself against a well-orchestrated narrative and propaganda against me, Deputy Chief Justice Zondo made sure that I neither presented my version nor got an opportunity to cross-examine those he called to testify against me. No independent-minded judge would act in this manner,” Fraser scathingly wrote.
Commission rubbishes Fraser’s threats
Moreover, in his letter, Fraser accused Zondo of endearing himself with “the political class so that he can secure the position of chief justice for which he is now nominated.”
Perhaps, most shocking, was the allegation that Zondo had purposefully declined him an opportunity to testify to “those I would have exposed to be the real culprits in capturing or attempting to recapture the State.”
According to the inquiry, however, not only was Fraser given ample opportunity to come forward and give evidence at the commission, but Zondo’s legal team also entertained his delay tactics.
The inquiry revealed that shortly after Fraser first made claims of exposing secrets about presidents and judges, an investigator was commissioned to discuss these claims with the former head of the State Security Agency (SSA). However these attempts were fruitless since Fraser and his attorney did not cooperate.
“In conclusion it is only Mr Fraser who can explain why he has never lodged an application for leave to give evidence before the Commission if he wants to testify before the Commission, particularly because he did see it fit to lodge two other applications including one for leave to cross-examine certain witnesses which is provided for in the same Rule that provides for an application for leave to testify and the one for an order compelling the SSA to give him certain documents,” the inquiry noted.