The State Capture saga has another twist in the tale. Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the Chairperson of the Commission, has revealed that he fathered a child with the sister of one of Jacob Zuma’s wives in the 1990s.

Former President Jacob Zuma previously refused to appear before the State Capture Commission until Zondo recused himself. Zuma accused Zondo of having a ‘biased disposition’ towards him in a letter written to the Commission by Zuma’s attorney, Eric Mabuza.

The two most poignant paragraphs of the letter, dated September 28, hinted that Zuma and Zondo have a shared history.

“President Jacob Zuma is of the firm view that the chairperson’s bias against him is the result of personal matters and strained relations that the chairperson ought to have disclosed right at the beginning of the inquiry,” the letter read.

“President Zuma believes that the source of the Chairperson’s bias against him stems from the fact that the President and the Chairperson have historical, personal, family and professional relations that ought to have been publicly disclosed by the chairperson before accepting his appointment.”

In a statement released on Thursday, October 29 Zondo revealed what those ‘historical’ relations are.

He said: “In the mid-1990s — that is about 25 years ago — when I was in my 30s and was still in private practice as a lawyer — I got into a relationship with a certain woman, out of which a child was born. That relationship ended during the 1990s.

“Unbeknown to anybody at the time, that woman’s sister, Ms Thobeka Madiba, was, many years after that relationship had ended, to get married to Mr Jacob Zuma. To my knowledge, Mr Zuma had no relationship with Ms Thobeka Madiba in the mid-1990s.”

Zondo argues that this familial connection has not affected his judgment during the commission.

“That Mr Zuma happened to marry the sister of a woman with whom I had a relationship, that had ended so many years before that marriage, has never had any bearing on the execution of my judicial functions in the many matters involving Mr Zuma in which I have sat as a justice of the Constitutional Court since 2012, nor does it have any bearing on the execution of my duties as chairperson of the commission.”

Zondo said that while he thought it was necessary to speak on this matter, he does not intend to address any of the other allegations made in the letter sent by Zuma’s attorney.

“I will deal with them if and when Mr Zuma’s application for my recusal is lodged.”

Zondo said that “in none of the many matters involving Mr Zuma in which I have sat in the past” did the former president raise this concern or bring an application for his recusal, according to TimesLive.

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