Former President Jacob Zuma and his attorney, attorney Muzi Sikhakhane on the state commission.
Sharon Seretlo, Gallo Images
- SA1st Forum says Jacob Zuma’s “strike” at the Zondo Commission is a “direct attack on our criminal justice system.”
- Zuma is accused of contempt for leaving the investigation without asking permission to do so.
- The forum says Zuma lawyers should receive “maximum penalties” for “irresponsible and unprofessional” behavior.
Former President Jacob Zuma’s lawyer, Muzi Sikhakhane, and his legal team are facing a complaint of professional misconduct over the “irresponsible and unprofessional” way they represented Zuma during his strike with the state commission of inquiry.
“We want your Board to determine whether Mr. JG Zuma’s legal team, led by attorney Muzi Sikhakhane, SC, was irresponsible and unprofessional in the way they advised and represented their client during his most recent appearance on the Zondo Commission of Inquiry,” attorney Rod Solomons, of the SA1st Forum, wrote to the Legal Practice Council last week.
The fact that Mr. Zuma and his legal team left the Zondo Commission proceedings without the approval of its chairman caused quite a stir and could be considered a direct attack on our criminal justice system. Obviously, Mr. Zuma cannot take such an action without the advice of his legal team. “
According to Solomons, the LPC should consider imposing the “maximum penalty” on Zuma attorneys for their alleged misconduct.
Solomons filed the complaint after Zuma left the investigation on Nov. 19, after Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo rejected the former president’s request for his refusal. Zuma chose to leave the investigation after being explicitly told by evidence leader Paul Pretorius that he could not leave without being excused by Zondo.
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Zondo later announced that he had ordered the investigation’s secretary, Professor Itumeleng Mosala, to bring criminal charges against Zuma for this apparent contempt.
His (Zuma’s) conduct may send a message to any other witnesses who may not feel comfortable coming to answer questions, that it is right to act as a witness called to apologize, that witnesses come and go when they want. the Commission, ”said Zondo.
However, Solomons argues that “ the conduct of the legal team which is of greater concern as they are after all court officers and should have been aware that a witness called to appear cannot simply leave without the express consent of the Presiding Officer “.
“If Zuma’s legal team gets away with such antics, other legal practitioners may start to think that it is okay to act that way when they have to appear before a court of inquiry or such a body. People will not trust and respect for our legal system.
Mr. Zuma’s legal team, either in tow or at the head, treated the Commission and none other than the Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa with the utmost disdain for their antics of leaving the Commission as they did, he added.
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Sikhakhane has declined to comment on the complaint filed by Solomons with both the Johannesburg Bar Association and the LPC.
Zuma’s legal team has previously indicated that they will attempt to review Zondo’s refusal to recant in the Supreme Court and also file a complaint of misconduct over Zondo with the Judicial Service Commission. They claim he was in charge of a case in which he was personally involved because he disputed Zuma’s claims that he and the former president had a “close personal relationship.”
The case and complaint have not yet been filed.
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