It appeared that the dramatic events at the state capture commission on Friday could have been avoided had Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo been appraised of the legal teams’ deadlock on time.
Zondo decried how he was blindsided by the legal minds after their failure to inform him of their disagreement.
That impasse saw former President Jacob Zuma briefly withdraw his participation in the commission.
The animosity between Zuma’s legal counsel and the commission’s evidence leader Paul Pretorius has been glaring since his first appearance on Monday.
Things took a turn for the worst on Wednesday when Zuma complained he was being dealt with unfairly, forcing Zondo to order the legal teams to confer until a solution was found.
But when they could not agree, Zondo was not informed. “I was still waiting to be informed by the two legal teams.”
The chair, along with everyone else, was caught off guard and only found out on Friday morning that Zuma wanted to pull out of the commission, much to his disappointment.
Nonetheless, all it took to resolve the impasse was an instruction from Zondo that the parties meet in his chambers, a discussion that he said took 10 minutes to resolve the dispute.
“There was really no difficulty in finding a solution once I met with both teams.”
Before that, Zuma’s legal counsel had accused the commission of engaging in a quasi-litigation, warning that there was something wrong with the proceedings.
Zondo added that Zuma would provide written statements on areas of interest for the inquiry’s legal team and return to the inquiry at a date yet to be determined.
“The discussions have resulted in an agreement that the decision that the decision that the former president will no longer participate in proceedings is withdrawn and that the former president has indicated that he wishes to continue to cooperate.”