Former President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma has requested the head of a commission investigating corruption during his presidency to step aside over alleged “bias”, his lawyers said.
Mr Zuma has repeatedly refused to testify at the commission but Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has set a “non-negotiable” date for him to appear to face charges of corruption.
The former president’s lawyer Eric Mabuza has said that he would not take part until Mr Zondo is replaced.
In a letter to the commission, Eric Mabuza said: “We are instructed to seek your recusal as chairperson of the commission on the ground that our client reasonably apprehends that you have already adopted a biased disposition towards him.”
He said that Mr Zondo was no longer capable of “exercising an independent and impartial mind”.
“President Zuma has always expressed his willingness to cooperate with the commission. This is in spite of his reservations about the legality of the commission and in particular, your suitability as chairperson, given your personal relations with him”.
The inquiry, known as the Zondo Commission, was established to investigate the “state capture” scandal during Mr Zuma’s tenure as president.
Zuma has been indicted for corruption in the arms deal with a French firm, Thales, in 1999.
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