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Former South African President Jacob Zuma has asked the head of a commission investigating corruption during his presidency to resign over alleged “bias,” his lawyers said.

Mr Zuma has repeatedly refused to testify to the Commission.

However, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has set a “non-negotiable” date for his appearance.

Corruption allegations followed Mr Zuma’s presidency and led him to step down in February 2018.

The former president’s lawyer has stated that he will not attend until Mr Zondo is replaced.

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In a letter to the commission, Eric Mabuza said: “We are instructed to move your rejection as chairman of the commission because our client reasonably believes that you have already taken a bias towards him.”

He said that Mr. Zondo was no longer able to “exercise an independent and impartial spirit”.

“State Capture”

“President Zuma has always expressed his willingness to work with the Commission. This is despite his reservations about the legitimacy of the Commission and, in particular, your suitability as chairman given your personal relationships with him.”

The investigation known as the Zondo Commission was set up to investigate the “state arrest” scandal during Mr Zuma’s tenure as President.

Image descriptionIn 2016, thousands marched into the capital, Pretoria, urging Mr Zuma to resign over the transplant allegations

The focus was on allegations about an Indian business family, the Guptas, who had signed lucrative contracts with state-owned companies.

The family was also accused of trying to influence policy decisions, including appointing ministers.

The Guptas have said there are no cases that can be answered and that they are in the process of deleting their names “in the face of unsubstantiated media allegations”.

‘Too Sick’

Mr. Zondo has been chairman of the commission for more than two years and has heard statements from ministers, ex-ministers, government officials, politicians and business people.

Last week, Mr Zuma said he was too sick to testify.

As a result, Mr. Zondo held a press conference on television asking Mr. Zuma to testify in November.

A television announcement “shows that he wants to portray him as uncooperative and bellicose in the public eye,” argued Zuma’s lawyer in the letter.

Related topics

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  • corruption
  • South Africa

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