Raymond Zondo

Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo had a child with a sister of one of former president Jacob Zuma's wives more than 25 years ago.

Zondo was on Thursday lifting the lid on the personal family connection that Zuma alluded to in making calls for Zondo to recuse himself as state capture commission chair. Zuma has claimed that Zondo is biased against him.

In a statement on Thursday, Zondo revealed: “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.

“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 added that “in none of the many matters involving Mr Zuma in which I have sat in the past” did the former president ever complain, raise his concern or bring an application for his recusal.